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The trend: More city residents less municipal workers
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Manteca two years ago had 67,000 residents and 430 municipal workers.

The general fund in 2008-09 was at $39,827,380.

Today Manteca has 69,000 residents while the general fund has shrunk to $26,354,625.

The city is now getting by with 73 less workers or a 16 percent less staff to provide everything from garbage collection and street maintenance to public safety.

Most of the reduction was made via retirements and voluntary departures plus a few involuntary departures based on job performance and then leaving positions unfilled. Twelve positions were lost when the police association declined the same deal offered all other municipal workers to sacrifice previously negotiated pay raises for two years in exchange for maintaining staffing levels and no lay-offs. The other layoff, which is in the Community Development Department, goes into effect July 1.

A number of positions were rethought and tasks combined into one job while in other cases cross-training allowed the remaining staff to split up work. In the case of mid-management positions that have departed, administration has taken on more work as well. Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin, as an example, has been overseeing Parks and Recreation while Public Works engineer Fredric Clark is now also in charge of the Community Development Department.

The city actually has reduced general fund positions even more. There were 314 general fund positions two years ago compared to 209 proposed for the upcoming fiscal year starting July 1. They were able to whittle down the general fund workforce by 105 positions by carefully scrutinizing operations to determine what could be shifted to enterprise accounts or redevelopment agency funding. Street cleaning, for example, that was once assigned to the general fund accounts for streets was shifted to solid waste since 95 percent of the work they do is associated with that department.

The Community Development Department has been funded on a loan from the redevelopment agency. The idea is to replace that funding with cost recovery fees that the city is in the process of putting in place. It takes a fairly long period to establish and justify the fees as state law requires a nexus to be done to make sure they are fair and justified.

The general fund has been hit hardest by a drop-off in sales tax, property tax and other revenue.

When the city started paring back expenses 18 months ago, they also included the enterprise accounts such as water, sewer, and refuse collection. There was some grumbling at the time from enterprise account workers who felt the funding source for them was much more stable as it was based on users fees. In the end, all of the employee groups voted to have everyone go with furlough days and forgo pay raises for an average loss in compensation of close to 10 percent for all municipal employees except police officers who declined compensation concessions.

The end result was the enterprise account have been able to weather hits from foreclosures and delinquencies on municipal utility bills effectively so that enterprise employees aren’t facing staffing cutbacks nor will there be user fee increases his year.

The City Council is considering the 2010-11 fiscal year spending plan at a 3 p.m. special meeting Tuesday at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.