City officials this week presented a $20-million general fund budget proposal that includes more cuts than additions to city employment ranks and new fees to pay for much-needed storm drain and street repairs.
But most of the savings in the city's 1993-94 fiscal year budget will come from contracting for law enforcement services with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. That move, adopted by the City Council and County Board of Supervisors earlier this month, will save the city $2.1 million in the coming fiscal year.
The new fees and cuts, including salary freezes, are needed to deal with a $2.64-million shortfall in the city's operating and reserve funds and $2.4 million in needed street and storm drain repairs, officials said.
In a presentation to the City Council on Monday, City Manager Michael W. Parness blamed most of the city's continuing budget woes on the state.
"The reason we're in trouble is the state, and that's the only reason we're in trouble," he said.
Last year alone, the city was forced to cut about $2.4 million in spending, including the elimination of 25 positions, about 8% of the city work force.
Next Monday, in an effort to deal with the projected loss of $377,000 in property tax funds to the state, Parness will present a proposal that could include additional staff reductions and potential salary cuts.
Although Parness said the $377,000 is another tough hit, the city could have lost $1.5 million under the governor's original budget proposal.
The City Council will consider a final budget by the end of the month.
Under the preliminary budget proposal, officials would eliminate the equivalent of about six full-time positions but add two civil engineers and a public works director to handle the unprecedented number of planned road and storm drain repair projects. The net number of positions reduced would be 2.6.
Officials expect that most of the employees affected by the proposed cuts will be transferred into other vacant positions within the city or Sheriff's Department.
As for the new fees, homeowners will soon pay an extra $2.96 per month to help the city raise about $1 million annually for the needed storm drain repairs. The City Council on June 30 will also consider setting up a street maintenance assessment district, which would raise between $1.5 million and $2.1 million annually for roadwork. Under the proposed fee, homeowners would pay between $90 and $130 a year for street repairs.