The Las Vegas City Council approved its tentative Fiscal Year 2011 operating budget at today’s special joint City Council and Redevelopment Agency Budget Workshop. The final recommendations approved by the council include raising some revenues, using $38 million in reserves and eliminating about 191 positions in addition to other potential revenue opportunities. Under the plan adopted today, 146 employees would be laid off. Some of the changes made at the council meeting today could further adjust those numbers slightly. This plan assumes no concessions from the city’s four bargaining units. That means the primary approach to balancing the budget includes reductions in programs, services and staff.
Some of the changes from the city manager’s initial recommendations last month include the following approvals by the City Council:
- An adjustment was made to the target budget reduction for the Department of Fire & Rescue due to a calculation error. The original information presented to the council indicated a total reduction of $5.9 million, which when presented included significant reductions in Fire Prevention and the elimination of all vacancies. The adjustment changed the total reduction needed to balance the Fire & Rescue budget to $3 million, which can be accomplished through the reduction of some vacant positions, one filled office supervisor (in the City Employees Association) and additional reductions in services and supplies as well as one daily “brownout” of a truck or engine company.
- A reduction in force in Building and Safety of an additional eight positions based on a two-year forecast of the Building Enterprise fund that showed the department’s revenue would not support the current staffing complement.
- Throughout the process, several positions became available through attrition, additional vacant positions were identified, one position was identified for transfer into an enterprise fund and other minor modifications were made to the departments’ final budget submittals that changed the numbers slightly from what was originally presented to the council earlier.
The council also approved recommendations for increasing some revenue. These proposed fee increases will come back before the City Council for future action at a later date. The recommendations include:
- A fee to display news racks ($235,000).
- Fire & Rescue insurance billings for services and supplies ($565,000).
- An increase in Fire & Rescue EMS transports from two to three pending ambulance industry discussions ($1.6 million).
- Raising some Leisure Services league and tournament fees ($500,000).
- Raising some Leisure Services Safekey and camp fees ($632,000).
- Municipal Court revised warrant processing fees ($950,000).
- Municipal Court increased collection efforts ($600,000).
The potential FY 2011 revenue impact of these fees would be about $5 million.
Some of the additional recommendations that were approved by the council include:
- Evaluating opportunities to terminate employees and rehire them immediately if they agree to a reduction in work hours to 37.5 hours per week.
- Establishing a Warrant Service Program pilot study. This pilot program is intended to save 10 positions and have a net revenue impact on the city’s General Fund of approximately $500,000. The pilot study would involve six deputy city marshals, two senior office specialists and two public safety technicians, who will be used to identify and serve warrants in approximately 33,000 outstanding cases during the swing-shift. The total cost to implement the program is estimated at $1.2 million, while revenue is expected to be $1.7 million, resulting in a $500,000 net increase.
- Putting together a proposal to consolidate the Deputy City Marshal Unit and the Municipal Court marshals.
- The hiring of a consultant to evaluate the city’s public safety departments with an emphasis on the fire department relating to the privatization of EMS transport.
- Partially restoring funding to the Reed Whipple Community Center and exploring donations from the public to match the city’s General Fund contribution of $25,000 to keep the center open.
- Restoring funding for the city’s Northwest Substation used by the Department of Detention and Enforcement.
- Eliminating the Xtreme Sports program ($190,000 savings).
- Eliminating the Evolve Program’s Discharge Planning.