Tri States Public Radio Staff
Mon March 8, 2010
City Job Cuts Possible for Macomb
Macomb, IL – Macomb faces a $300,000 deficit in its General Fund next fiscal year if staffing levels remain the same. As a result, cuts are recommended for the Police and Public Works Departments.
In his preliminary budget, City Administrator Dean Torreson recommends three vacant positions in the Public Works Department remain unfilled. He does not want to eliminate them - he just wants to leave them open at this time.
Torreson says each new entry-level hire in the department impacts the budget by an estimated $49,340.
He also recommends the number of certified police officers on staff be reduced by three, from 30 to 27. The department is currently down to 28 officers and Torreson says the other reduction can be made through attrition. He says the city can determine a year from now whether an active layoff is required.
Torreson says each officer with one year experience has an impact of $79,758 on the budget.
Torreson says the city also faces a projected deficit of $562,000 in its current budget year, which ends April 30. Cash reserves can cover that shortfall, but he says the use of reserves is not a long-term solution.
"Although the city is not in a crisis situation, the combination of reduced revenue and ever-increasing costs has put us on a dangerous course that could become a crisis within two-to-three years," Torreson told aldermen during their March 8 Committee of the Whole meeting.
Torreson also recommends no pay raises be given next fiscal year, though that needs to be negotiated with three unions. He wants the city to defer equipment and vehicle purchases for one year and shift some expenses. But he said those cannot be counted on as annual savings.
He also cautioned against optimism about a national economic recovery and fiscal solvency for the state.
"First, things might not return to 'normal.' We may have a new, less affluent 'normal' to look forward to," said Torreson.
"Second, even if the economy and the State of Illinois rebound fiscally to 100%, our cost-cutting measures for next year are uncertain and cannot be sustained in future years."
Torreson said one bright spot in the budget is the Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund, which has steadily generated $850,000 to $900,000 per year through the recession.