Where $29.3 million in cuts would come from
Below are City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft's list/ descriptions of proposed citywide cuts to balance the budget if Question 2C fails. This information can be found
under the “Budget” topic on the city website.
(Note: Some of these cuts were reported in the Sept. 3 Westside Pioneer, but at that time the shortfall was estimated at $25.4 million; now, because of changing economic conditions, it is $29.3 million.)
These reductions result in 2010 general fund savings of $29.3 million and eliminate 243.25 positions, (72.25 vacant and 171 filled).
Graft's write-up also provides details on what she termed the “three most significant program-area changes” proposed in the above-stated cuts:
1. Eliminating general fund portion of funding for Mountain Metro transit routes.
All city-funded, fixed-route (62,905 annual service hours) and paratransit services are proposed to be eliminated. The city will continue to fund the salaries required to run the remaining services and will continue the split of Administrative costs 50/50 with the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA). The fixed-route service changes will include elimination of all Saturday, Sunday, and evening services. Dependent upon contract renegotiation, one or two weekday routes may need to be eliminated or reduced in frequency. With one-time federal stimulus money and carryover funding, the net impact will be the elimination of less than 30 percent of fixed- route service hours and less than 10 percent of paratransit rides. The city and RTA funding for human service providers will remain at 2009 levels. FREX is recommended for elimination. This reduction eliminates two full-time general fund full-time positions.
2. Closing many cultural and recreational facilities and reducing services at facilities that will remain open; and providing minimum maintenance on a fraction of the parks inventory.
Facilities proposed for closure: Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, Helen Hunt Falls and Starsmore Discovery Center, Pioneers Museum, West Community Center, Otis Community Center, Deerfield Community Center, Meadows Community Center, Hillside Community Center, Sand Creek Family Center, Aquatics and Fitness Center, and Cottonwood Creek Recreation Center, and all outdoor pools including Prospect Lake.
Proposed program terminations: Therapeutic Recreation program, transportation for field trips, Mayor's 100 Teens, affordable sports camps and summer day camps..
Proposed program reductions: Forestry services, volunteer recruitment, community projects, outdoor fountain operations, special event coordination, and recreation programs.
Proposed park maintenance reductions: Of 141 park sites, 13 will be fully maintained and irrigated.
The remaining 128 sites will receive reduced maintenance and irrigation. Median maintenance, right-of- way mowing, and the flower bed program are proposed to be eliminated.
At the request of the Westside Pioneer, City Parks Maintenance Director Kurt Schroeder provided a list of the 13 parks that will continue to receive full city maintenance. One Westside park is on the list (Bancroft).
According to Schroeder, the 13 were selected “because they are our highest revenue producers and the centers of considerable civic activity and special events.”
The 13 are: Memorial Park, Monument Valley Park, Cottonwood Creek Park, Bancroft Park, Acacia Park, America the Beautiful Park, Rampart Park, Four Diamond Sports Complex, Goose Gossage Youth Sports Complex, Leon Young Youth Sports Complex, El Pomar Youth Sports Park, Skyview Sports Park and Alamo Square Park (outside Pioneers Museum).
3. Eliminating uniformed fire and police positions.
Eliminating 35 uniformed fire positions: This will close two squads and remove full-time staffing for the heavy rescue unit, and will impact response times in nearly every planning and evaluation zone in the city.
Eliminating 53 uniformed police positions: 26 patrol officer positions, the Air Support Unit and a number of other specialized unit or program officers such as an intelligence officer, metro-vice narcotics officers, tactical enforcement officers, community impact team officers, burglary and theft investigators and juvenile offender unit officers.
“While my goals have been to minimize cuts to public safety and maintain services to low-income and vulnerable populations, the overwhelming shortfall has made both goals impossible to meet in balancing the budget,” Graft elaborates in her website document. “Public safety makes up over 51 percent of the general fund budget and 67 percent of city employees. To bridge this year's gap, public safety reductions cannot be avoided. While reductions to administrative functions are always preferred to making cuts in public safety services, two years of targeting administrative functions (reduced 33 percent) have left us without further capacity to make major cuts in those areas. We are now at minimum staffing levels required to meet Charter requirements and ensure regulations are followed; fraud is prevented; and, financial, communication, and data systems are maintained to support critical functions (including public safety communications systems such as E911, dispatch, and radio communications).”
Westside Pioneer article