Budget shortfalls were again the primary topic of discussion in Pacifica Council chambers Monday evening.
The proposed General Fund operating budget for fiscal year 2011-12 is $26,302,159, a decrease of $2,089,016 from the operating budget in fiscal year 2010-11.
In order to form a balanced budget for fiscal year 2011-12, council approved the use of $547,738 in operating reserves to bridge the gap caused by ongoing structural deficit and a loss of revenue.
Much of the revenue deficit stems from loss of the fire suppression tax that did not pass Pacifica voter approval, a tax which was expected to generate approximately $1.3 million dollars on an annual basis for the city.
Due to the failed tax measure, city council directed staff to cut $1.5 million dollars from the fiscal year 2011-12 budget, which resulted in the current budget proposal.
All city departments are impacted by the cuts made to reach a balanced budget.
Non-departmental expenditures were also impacted; The televising of Parks, Beaches and Recreation meetings (at a cost-savings of $5,416) was eliminated, support of the farmers' market was reduced by $2,000, and the funds for Community Clean Up operations ($3,000) were moved to the wastewater fund.
Department restructuring resulted in the elimination of 19.7 city positions including the city attorney, both full-time to part-time positions, and eliminating vacant positions.
The budget was approved by council in a 3 to 1 vote, with Councilmember Pete De Jarnatt dissenting.
"I will not be voting for this budget because I do not agree with many things," said De Jarnatt. "I don't think its going to save us any money" to contract city attorney services, he said.
De Jarnatt also noted that cuts to departments are coming before cuts are made to the funding of other entities, including the public library system and .
"The non-departmental entities aren't being cut at all. How is that fair? It's not," said De Jarnatt.
Councilmembers called the Pacifica Resource Center a necessary "safety net that people need in these down times" and opposed funding cuts to .
A total of 5.5 city employees are to be laid-off. A number of other layoffs will result in reassignments, demotions, or cuts from full to part-time positions.
Councilmember Digre acknowledged that the cuts to each city department does have an adverse effect on employee moral.
"I have grave concerns about the cuts we are making today," said Digre. "We have prized employees."
Mayor Mary Ann Nihart proposed that it may be necessary to take $10,ooo from a funding commitment to the Pacifica Resource Center in the future.
"Without increased revenue, this is the first of a few hard years ahead, maybe more," said Nihart.