Clovis News

Clovis city workers' pay cut less than expected

Clovis city employees will give back part of their salaries for a third straight year beginning in July in the proposed budget, but the amount lost will be less than half of what they gave up last year.

In the proposed 2010-11 budget, Clovis city officials are seeking $750,000 in concessions from three employee groups, equal to pay cuts of about 2.81%, said Robert Woolley, the city's finance director. Last year the concessions totaled about $1.5 million, equal to pay cuts of 5.74%.

Clovis City Council members heard a presentation on the coming year's budget Monday night. They did not take any action.

City officials hope to eliminate the concessions next year, Woolley said.

The budget shortfall for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, is $2 million to $2.5 million, he said. The city's general fund is slightly less than $52 million.

But the city's budget situation isn't completely dire. Clovis expects to receive federal stimulus funds that will be used to hire five police officers and six firefighters.

Rich Cadigan, president of the Clovis Firefighters Association, said he was encouraged by the concessions proposal.

"No one likes to give back anything, but we were expecting much worse," he said before Monday's meeting.

Cadigan said he looks forward to additional firefighters being hired because the city will be able to re-open its downtown Clovis station full-time. The station has been closed most of the year since last July's budget cuts.

Along with the concessions, the city is making a series of other cuts that include deferring vehicle replacements and city buildings maintenance. There are no layoffs proposed.

Woolley said he is cautiously optimistic going into the new budget year because sales tax revenues appear to be rising, and the declines in property tax revenues may have hit bottom.

In addition, the city will see a full year of tax revenues from several new hotels and from a Kohl's store and the proposed Gottschalk by Joe Levy store, both at Sierra Vista Mall.

City Manager Kathy Millison said there still are concerns about funding the state could take from the city.

Last week, Clovis had to pay $1.7 million in redevelopment funds after a lawsuit ruling two weeks ago said the state may claim that money for schools in redevelopment areas. Cities and counties statewide were required to pay the state and plan to appeal the ruling. The city also is at risk of losing another $350,000 to the state in additional property taxes, she said.

Public hearings on the proposed budget will be held at City Council meetings on June 7 and 21. The council's final vote on the budget is scheduled for after the second public hearing on June 21.