Budget sprint, and Plan B details

Tonight begins Stockton’s grueling stretch before adopting a budget June 21.

It starts with an introductory budget overview tonight during the 5:30 p.m. City Council meeting and continues tomorrow night with detailed department-by-department budget presentations. More of the same on June 14.

City Manager Bob Deis is presenting “Plan A” and “Plan B” for balancing the estimated $37 million deficit,  but Plan A is the worst-case, no-concessions spending plan that council members already have said they don’t support. By declaring another fiscal emergency last month, the council already indicated it would rather impose pay and benefit cuts on workers to help bridge the deficit than to cut services as deeply as has been proposed (more than 230 general fund positions eliminated).

So some form of Plan B is what is more likely to be adopted June 21. Plan B assumes labor deals on concessions are struck – or that the city imposes measures on workers – and that the balance of the budget savings comes from less severe service reductions.

Under Plan B, the Police Department would lose 14 positions, none of them sworn officers. That’s compared to Plan A’s 123 jobs, which includes 19 sworn positions. Eliminating 14 positions would save $2 million, and reduced labor costs through concessions or impositions would save $12.3 million, officials estimate.

For the Fire Department, Plan B would reduce sworn staffing by 48, reduce daily minimum staffing and close one engine and one truck, for an estimated savings of $9.3 million. Another $9.8 million could be saved through concessions/impositions. (Plan A, by contrast, proposes eliminating 81 fire positions and closing three engines and one truck.)

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