City workers asked to help balance budget

By Charles COOPER

Glendale city bargaining units will be asked for as much as $3 million in salary and benefit concessions to help balance the city budget for the coming year.
Council members were told Tuesday that the city faces about an $8 million deficit for the coming year, as revenues continue to flatline.
City Manager Jim Starbird said as much as 40 percent of that could be made up if employees groups agree to do without salary and benefit hikes for the coming year.
If the agreement can’t be made, the city might look at service cuts and layoffs. Some 100 jobs have been cut in the past two years.
The pressure could be placed on the police, where 15 or 16 jobs could be cut if the benefits reduction is not accepted.
The city will also be looking at cuts in capital projects, taking about a million dollars from capital to the general fund. Starbird said the cut won’t affect current projects, but could jeopardize some $10 million in projects down the line.
He added Glendale is in relatively good shape compared to other cities and the state. Our bond rating has actually gone up, he said. Retirement costs are less under the Glendale plan, and the city will be looking at an even lower cost plan for new employees.
City revenue from development is expected to increase, with several new projects now on line, according to the city manager.
A hiring freeze will remain in place for now, and department heads will be asked to provide up to 5% in cuts if need.