The elimination of six jobs at the city of South Lake Tahoe has been proposed as part of measures to close a $1.6 million budget deficit in the city's $84 million 2012-13 budget.
The City Council will discuss the proposal at its regular meeting Tuesday. It is the second time in as many years that job cuts have been proposed as part of the solution to the city's budget woes.
The city's workforce has been reduced by 30 percent in the past four years, according to City Manager Nancy Kerry's budget message to the council.
"However, those reduced expenses have primarily been consumed by the rising costs of retirement and health care, resulting in the continuous cycle of cutting staff simply to fund the escalating retirement and health care costs," Kerry said.
Three of the positions currently proposed for elimination are filled and three are unfilled, Kerry said.
"The three unfilled positions include Assistant to the City Manager, Community Services Director and IT Technician," Kerry said in the message. "The three filled positions are Buyer, Risk Management Coordinator and Street Superintendent. The three filled positions are under contract and will be with the City until the end of the year. The Street Superintendent position will remain on board until the new Public Works Department is established and the new director is hired."
The public works department director position will replace the current engineering director position, according to the message. The engineering director will then become a part-time city engineer/deputy public works director under the proposal.
A new deputy public safety director position is also expected to begin midway through the year following the completion of cost/benefit analysis of a possible consolidation with Lake Valley Fire Protection District, according to the message.
The city also anticipates using about $700,000 from $9.8 million in reserves to plug the budget deficit, while cutting more than $500,000 from department budgets, adding a projected $50,000 in revenue from the city's vacation rental tax and raising an anticipated $150,000 through increased parking enforcement.
Throughout Kerry's message to the council, she expressed concerns over still-rising costs of employee health care and retirement.
"The strategies described above resolve the FY 2013 budget deficit of $1.6M, but also make it clear a structural deficit continues requiring immediate attention in this fiscal year," Kerry said. "Employees who have already reduced their salaries will need to participate further in finding solutions to the escalating costs of retirement and health benefits."
Also at Tuesday's meeting, the council is expected to approve a contract for Kerry to serve as city manager. The council will also hear an update from the Tahoe Transportation District on a proposed loop road around Stateline casinos and the very eastern end of South Lake Tahoe.
The City Council Tuesday meets starting at 9 a.m. at Lake Tahoe Airport. The budget discussion is one of the last items on Tuesday's agenda.