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Sanders Announces Five-Year Plan to Repair City’s Finances

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Today Mayor Sanders proposed eliminating 709 city jobs by the end of the next fiscal year. That’s nine percent of city employees, not including public safety. Full Focus Reporter Rebecca Tolin has the story.

Sanders said he will not cut police, firefighters or lifeguards, nor will he raise taxes. Many of the positions on the chopping block are currently vacant and 100 are management or supervisory jobs. The mayor is also proposing to cut an additional 250 positions – a total of 959 municipal jobs – over the next three years. Sanders says the city’s payroll has to be reduced to make up for an $87 million deficit next year. And even with these cuts, there is still a $25 million gap in the general fund. So over the next few months, the mayor will be looking for more cuts which will mean sacrificing some city services.

Jerry Sanders: It clearly will not be easy and I would expect the gap to be closed by a combination of factors: further reductions in force, making government work in a smarter, learner, more efficient manner and a reduction in services. It would be irresponsible and dishonest for me to stand up here and say to citizens that their services will not be impacted. They very well may be impacted by necessity not my design.

Jay Goldstone, Chief Financial Officer: Nothing is going to be sacred in this budget. The mayor has made it very clear that there are no new taxes and any adjustments in fees will be nominal if any. We need to look at what kind of businesses we're in, what kinds of services we're providing, and whether or not we can continue on with that and we believe we cannot.

Chief Financial Officer Jay Goldstone said he expects balancing the budget this year will be rough, with a long drawn-out discussion between the mayor, staff and city council. Sanders said he will present a balanced budget to the staff by next April. At that time we’ll see what kinds of services could be cut, and what kinds of positions. Today, the mayor didn’t offer any of those details.

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