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April 22, 2009 > City Could Close Non-Essential Services

City Could Close Non-Essential Services

By Simon Wong

As part of its ongoing management of its fiscal crisis, the City of Hayward will introduce a 104-hour furlough to partially offset a projected $5.9 million deficit in FY2009 and $10 million deficit in FY2010.

The furlough will save $1.2 million or reduce the City's annual salary and wages bill by 5%. Reduced salary costs of $600,000 will also arise from Water, Waste Water and the Redevelopment Agency and the closures will reduce utility bills.

Salaries and wages account for 79 percent of General Fund expenditure. Although a 52-hour holiday furlough was introduced, 50 non-sworn positions lost and overtime and other costs reduced last year, lower personnel costs are necessary to offset the projected budget shortfalls.

Union and non-union employees, including executives, voluntarily approved the furlough's implementation. Furlough days will be taken either on a set schedule or as thirteen floating days. A decision is pending.

Non-essential facilities will close if a set schedule is chosen. City Hall, the Main Library and Weekes Branch Library will close on the last Friday of each month from July 2009 until May 2010 and for a week at Christmas from Dec 21 to Dec 23. Only staff performing critical duties will work during the closures.

City employees have volunteered salary and other concessions, agreed in the last fiscal year, to save the City almost $14 million over four years.

In a separate statement, City Manager Greg Jones praised City of Hayward employees.

"We're projecting continued severe declines in revenue next year in both sales taxes and property taxes. The bottom is dropping out from under what historically have been stable revenue streams to maintain City services. This year we cut almost $10 million from our General Fund budget, about 10% overall. We're looking at additional 10% cuts next year, or the equivalent of 20% in just two years. We can't possibly maintain services under this scenario. Our employees are stepping up in a big way but additional cuts are unavoidable without additional revenues," he said.

"We're getting to the tipping point in our ability to serve the community. Our lack of internal investment is already showing and impacting our frontline departments' ability to deliver services," he explained.

A majority vote for Measure A, the utility user tax, on May 19 will provide approximately $13 million per year to maintain essential public services.

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