$10M in cuts on course

Predominately by renegotiating pensions for its employees and offering them incentives for early retirement, the city of Newport Beach is on track to trim $10 million from its 2010-2011 fiscal year budget deficit.

The City Council will make final adjustments to the $187.7 million operating budget before Tuesday's regular council meeting, when it could adopt the budget.

The savings come in the face of a $12.5 million deficit that was originally forecast in January. Declining revenues and outstanding spending commitments forced the city to make cuts.

"We really appreciate the employee groups for chipping in part of their pay and the council's willingness to work them," said City Manager David Kiff.

Some of the largest savings will come from an early-retirement incentive program for city employees, which is anticipated to save the city about $3 million during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Those savings are realized if the positions vacated by retiring employees remain open.

Also, the city renegotiated the amount that its firefighters, lifeguards and police officers contribute to their pensions. The unions representing firefighters and lifeguards have agreed to a higher contribution by employees, and the police are still in negotiations with the city. Other city employee unions are still in contract talks.

"We got a number of concessions from our labor groups and hopefully we'll get a few more," Kiff said.

Newport Beach plans to hire an outside firm to conduct street sweeping and beach cleanups, a move that could save $500,000.

On the revenue front, an increase in parking fees at meters and lots is anticipated to generate about

$2 million in the next year.

Still, the city will have about $2.5 million to plug the budget hole.

"That could be achieved through the rest of the labor negotiations," said Kiff.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World