(KMTR) – The City of Eugene has its first clear picture of what another round of upcoming budget cuts may do to local jobs and services in the city beginning in summer 2012.
Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz released his budget strategy proposed at a public meeting on Wednesday night at the Eugene Public Library, outlining how he believes the city should tackle an estimated 4.4 million dollars in cuts for the 2013 fiscal year.
Over the next two years, Ruiz estimates that the city will have to cut 7 million dollars from its general fund. It’s spread those cuts over two years though, with an estimated 2.2 million dollars of cuts for fiscal year 2014.
The proposed cuts aren’t final, but rather, the city manager’s suggestion as to what he believes is necessary.
Ruiz is proposing that the city cut twenty jobs through a combination of employee layoffs and “attrition,” the process of eliminating vacant positions. Ruiz estimates that the job cuts would save the city about 3 million dollars.
The city manager is also proposing a cut to service hours at the Eugene Public Library’s Bethel and Sheldon branches.
Another idea proposed would eliminate a fire engine from the Whiteaker Fire Station, but keep the station open.
Cutting funding for outside organizations is another key element to Ruiz’s strategy. Ruiz is proposing cutting funding to Lane County Animal Services by $130,000. Right now, the city of Eugene contributes about $1 million to LCAS’ budget.
Ruiz has also proposed cutting all dues to the Lane Council of Governments, or LCOG, and the Lane Regional Air Protection Authority, or LRAPA. That would save about $285 thousand.
“We want to be a very strong partner,” says Ruiz.
“But part of it is that as we look throughout our entire organization, in three and a-half, four years now, at ways that we can save dollars because the impact of the recession aren't going away, what we're saying to our other partners is you know, unfortunately, we're having to share some of that now,” says Ruiz.
One thing that’s missing from Ruiz’s budget proposal is fee hikes. Ruiz says he’s tried to avoid that is community members tighten their financial belts. Ruiz is proposing some fee hikes though in Recreation Services and the city’s toxic waste handling programs.
The proposed cuts come from the city manager’s office about 9-weeks earlier than usual. The city manager’s office opted to release this information early this year because it is holding off on the creation of a budget document until it gets a more clear picture about how the city Budget Committee feels about what to cut.
With the suggestions, it will be up to the city of Eugene’s Budget Committee to agree on final cuts. After that, Eugene City Council will ultimately vote to approve and adopt the budget.
Since 2009, or the planning process of fiscal year 2010, the city of Eugene has cut more than 20 million from its general fund budget, while cutting 80 jobs through attrition.
The city’s Budget Committee will meet again with Ruiz to talk more in-depth on March 6th, 2012. The meeting is open to the public and begins at in the Bascom-Tykeson Room.