Santa Rosa seeks new concessions from workers

  • (l to r) Santa Rosa Engine 10 Captain Craig Lockett rolls up fire hoses with engineer Anthony Westergaard and firefighter Jaimie Harcos at the fire station on Corporate Center Parkway.

Santa Rosa officials said Tuesday they intend to seek new concessions from city workers to help restore more than $2 million in funding for police and fire services.

The latest draft of the city's budget, presented to the City Council on Tuesday, would avert the closure of Fire Station 10 in southwest Santa Rosa. The Fire Department would receive $1.3 million in funding that City Manager Kathy Millison had initially axed.

The revised budget also would return $750,000 to the Police Department, funding that would pay for two downtown enforcement officers and two school resource officers. It also would provide $110,000 to the gang task force budget.

To offset those and other added expenditures, Millison proposed $700,000 in cuts to other departments.

The city also signaled plans to seek $1 million in concessions from city workers outside public safety. Brian Cochran, city financial analyst, said the amount of concessions could possibly increase in contract negotiations with employee groups.

The City Council reviewed the budget revisions during a study session Tuesday but took no action.

General fund spending overall is proposed at $116.7 million, an increase of $7.8 million from the current year, with reserves remaining at $10.3 million.

Over two-thirds of the increase is driven by higher costs for employee salaries and benefits: $2.9 million in retirement costs, $1.2 million in health insurance costs and $1.4 million in scheduled salary increases.

Councilman Gary Wysocky expressed concern about the overall spending increase, saying it was "a little scary to me" and that he would prefer a larger reserve fund.

"I'm not satisfied with the budget as presented," Wysocky said.

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