A proposal to eliminate up to 29 full-time positions and 38 part-time jobs is back on the City Council agenda.
If the proposal is approved, most employees will be laid off, though at least 10 are expected to take early retirement. Early retirees must be at least 50-years-old with five years of service time.
The layoffs will cut $3.2 million from the city’s projected $10.4 million deficit. Another $4.1 million in cuts, including a $209,111 reduction in some administrative and management salaries, will reduce the deficit to $3.1 million.
The city has been running an annual general fund deficit of about $1.5 million since 2008, but has been able to get by on reserves and redevelopment agency money. But the state dissolved redevelopment agencies in December.
“We’re used to living beyond our means of general fund revenue,” councilmember Tyler Diep said. “We don’t have that luxury anymore.”
Westminster still has $21 million in reserves remaining, a sign of its fiscal responsibility according to councilmember Andy Quach.
“As a city we’ve done better than other cities,” he said. “In the last 10 years we were prudent and saved more than $24 million.”
But the money will dry up in just a few years if more cuts aren’t made. The city is losing almost $30,000 a day, according to staff reports.
In a recent study session, the council mulled possible ways to save more money. Councilmember Frank Fry suggested turning the city’s water department into a business or floating a 50-year bond that could be paid when the economy recovers.
“Forty years ago we floated a bond,” he said. “Over time we paid it off.”
The council meets in the Council Chambers at 8200 Westminster Blvd at 7 p.m.