City of Reno Looks For Ways To Fund 21 Firefighters

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RENO, NV - For the last three months, the Reno Firefighters Union has been battling the city to keep jobs. After an injunction in June ordered the city to hold off those layoffs, the city now has to decide how to reallocate the funds to keep 21 firefighters employed.

The Reno City Council, city manager and budget director have been discussing different ideas to find $2,000,000 to keep those 21 firefighters with a few compromises so far.

These compromises will hit the police department the hardest. The City Council has approved delaying the hiring of 13 new officers and eight civilian positions, saving the city about $443,110. Reno Fire Department is also looking at another cut, for severance pay and fuel costs, adding up to about $200,000.

The city's park programs are also going to be impacted. The $75,000 pool project might be delayed, but a decision has yet to be made. However, the council unanimously agreed to keep Traner Pool open and not reduce the Northeast Community Center hours.

"We lost a grant and we didn't have the city dollars to fund them, but as a result of requiring us to retain these fire fighters, somebody else in the city is going to feel the pain as a result," said Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger.

Tuesday night, the council voted to reallocate $1,488,725 in the General Fund through one-time and deferral options. Here's a closer look at the breakdown:

$56,000 - employment of a tree maintenance worker will be delayed for one year
$13,000 - removing the ice rink maintenance trailer, which eliminates rental fees
$50,000 - assessment fee revenue transfer from the Municipal Court Fund
$99,186 - employment of a Municipal Court Marshal will be delayed for one year
$105,000 - concessions from the City Council's discretionary and travel funds
$143,677 - continuation of a city-wide hiring freeze through September 5, 2014
$250,000 - holding vacant positions until the severance liability is covered
$100,000 - modifications of the Master Plan process
$28,752 - City Council givebacks for car and phone allowances

The breakdown of the ongoing savings of $288,026 are as follows:

$50,000 - elimination of a vendor contract for IT services
$55,706 - elimination of video services position combined with the addition of video contract services
$32,000 - reduction of salary for a parks maintenance worker
$52,320 - elimination of the City’s membership and travel budget for the League of Cities, Sister Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors organizations
$5,000 - elimination of a City-hosted Legislative event
$75,000 - amendment of the Legislative Lobbyist Contract
$18,000 - elimination of a temporary Public Works position

The council is asking for more time to look at the other recommended budget cuts. There will be another budget meeting August 6.

At the August 6 workshop, Council will be tasked with re-budgeting an additional $209,200. A majority of the approved savings are one-time options that will have to be revisited in the future.