Clovis City Council expected to OK budget with worker raises

The Fresno BeeJune 1, 2014 

Lynne Ashbeck

BILL HAINES — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

Clovis City Council members will discuss and likely approve a $189 million budget tonight that includes raises for city workers and money to bolster the city's cash reserves.

The budget includes 5% raises for city workers — 3% in take-home pay and 2% going into the city's employee retirement program — said Jamie Hughson, the city's finance director.

The council began its review of the budget during its May 19 meeting. The review is expected to be completed tonight.

The raises are supported by five of the city's nine bargaining units, including the city's police association. Clovis Firefighters' Association has not yet agreed to terms.

The city is hiring 16 new employees, including two new police officers and a police service officer in the dispatch division. Three new hires will be added to the city's Planning and Development Services Department.

The city is not raising water rates, but monthly sewer rates are rising from $27.39 to $28.19. Green waste and recycling rates will rise 4% — 32 cents total — to pay higher costs under the hauler's contract.

But residents also will see a 5% reduction in monthly trash rates, from $24.65 to $23.42. The trash rate also was reduced 5% last July.

The budget also will pay for improvements at the Clovis Senior Center and the city's recreation center, and acquire property for a new fire station in the southeast part of the city.

About $15 million in road work also is planned along many of the city's major arteries, including Clovis, Fowler, Shepherd, Nees and Gettysburg avenues.

Mayor Lynne Ashbeck said Clovis has benefited from strong financial management and bargaining units that cooperate with city staff and the council.

"We have really trusting relationships with our city employees," she said. "Everyone pitched in to reach the goals when we had reductions."

The city is ahead of schedule in reaching its goals for the general fund reserve, she said.

The city's spending plan will bolster the reserve by $500,000, raising the general fund reserve to about $8.2 million, or 14.5% of the city's general fund budget. The general fund pays for public safety, recreation and some parks services.

 

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6166, mbenjamin@fresnobee.com or @beebenjamin on Twitter.

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