At Monday night’s city council work session, councilmembers heard news from their Lansing lobbying team that had a $260,000 negative impact on the Ann Arbor city budget for FY 2010, which they are expected to adopt next Monday, May 18. The quarter-million dollar shortfall against the city’s own budget planning estimates for state shared revenue led to discussion of the possibility of accelerating an already-planned reduction in the number of Ann Arbor firefighters. A reduction of 14 positions in the fire department could be implemented in early 2010, instead of sometime during FY 2011, which was originally planned.
At the work session, city administrator Roger Fraser and the city’s chief financial officer, Tom Crawford, indicated that their preferred strategy was not to build any firefighter layoffs into the FY 2010 budget – they wanted to see if they could squeeze the $260,000 out of the budget in the course the first part of the FY 2010, which for the city begins July 2009. There’s uncertainty still, said Fraser, about how many police officers will take advantage of the early retirement offer – a move the city is making to avoid laying off 27 officers for FY 2010. Officers have until mid-June to make a decision. That uncertainty factors into decisions on the FY 2010 budget that council will make on May 18.
Councilmembers took turns calling city staff to the podium to clarify questions on other topics of interest. That included parking meters – their possible installation in residential areas, as well as the feasibility of maintaining current levels of ticket revenues without as many community standards enforcement officers dedicated specifically to ticketing. Other topics included the Local Development Finance Authority (questions about angels), historic district consultant (likely to be cut in FY 2010, instead of waiting until FY 2011), Project Grow (fund balance seen as too high) and the civic band (has not requested funding). The East Stadium bridges question came up, too (no money from state, but possibly from feds).
No formal decisions were made at the work session. [Full Story]