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City to Conduct Two Public Budget Meetings
 
The public is invited to attend two budget overview sessions by Chula Vista's City Manager, Jim Sandoval and Finance Director, Maria Kachadoorian. The first one is scheduled for Wednesday, October 20 at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 276 Fourth Avenue, and the second one will be Wednesday, October 27 at 6 p.m. at the Montevalle Community Center, 840 Duncan Ranch Road. These overview sessions are to review the budget reduction plan presented at the October 5 City Council meeting.

Sandoval's budget reduction plan calls for all five City employee union groups to agree to the same three issues: 1) No further salary raises during the contract period, 2) Pay full employee CalPERS retirement contribution (9% for public safety employees or 8% for all other employees), 3) Second Tier CalPERS retirement and health plans for new hires.

If City employees agree to pay their retirement contribution and forgo future contract raises beginning January 2011, the budget gap will be reduced sufficiently to avoid employee layoffs. If this does not occur, the staff cuts will result in closing the Norman Park Senior Center, eliminating graffiti abatement crews and the park ranger program for the City’s 52 parks and numerous other service reductions. Currently, 72 full-time employees have received lay off notices and 41 others have been notified of demotions.

However, the projected $12.5 million shortfall for year 2011/12 does not account for the potential loss of Telecommunications Users' Tax (TUT) which has been collected by the City of Chula Vista since 1970. A ballot measure to modernize the TUT language and definition is on the November 2 ballot. The initiative, known as Prop H, if approved would secure the City’s existing revenues which range from $5 to $6 million annually. Should the Prop H ballot measure fail at the voting booth, the City could be facing a cumulative budget shortfall of $18.5 million come July 1, 2011. A shortfall of that magnitude would result in the layoff of over 150 positions and vital services provided to the public. City facilities such as the EastLake Library, Parkway Pool and Gym, Memorial Bowl, Salt Creek and Otay recreation centers would be closed.

The public is welcome to attend the budget overview sessions and will be able to ask questions of the presentation.

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