Reno City Council Discuss Alternative Funding for Firefighters - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno City Council Discuss Alternative Funding for Firefighters

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21 Reno firefighters are keeping their jobs, at least for the next fiscal year. The department has been in an ongoing budget battle in the city of Reno. Now, the city must find a way to fund those positions, which were originally slated for layoffs, and that means cuts somewhere else.

A special budget workshop was held Tuesday, and it comes after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against the layoffs in a lawsuit filed by the Reno Firefighters Association.

"Based on the judge's decision, we cannot layoff fire personnel," said Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger. "So, that takes almost 28 percent of the budget off the table that we can't look at."

Before the ruling, 33 crew members were set to lose their jobs on the first of July. So, how did we get to 21 employees? City officials say one firefighter retired, and another 11 volunteered for an early retirement-resignation program.

After re-balancing the budget a bit, the city is now closer to it's $2 million goal to pay for the 21 positions through the next fiscal year. City council members voted to move out $1,776,751 from different departments.

From the City of Reno:

Council voted to reallocate $1,488,725 in the General Fund through one-time and deferral options. The breakdown of these allocations are as follows:

  • $443,110 - delaying a Reno Police Department academy and the training of emergency dispatch personnel
  • $200,000 - Reno Fire Department severance pay, fuel, and operation capital
  • $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

In regards to the Reno Police Department hiring delay, 21 positions would be affected. Chief Steve Pitts says 13 of those were for officers, while the other eight were civilian jobs. He says this will give their patrol division a 10 percent reduction, and hopes to officially hire them in the next few months. He reassures everyone their safety will not be affected.

"We've made adjustments," he said. "We constantly adjust our workload and performance. Our people are prepared to serving. Reno is safe."

The budget was a concern for members of the swimming community after the Traner Pool was in danger of closing. So, dozens of people from the Reno Aquatic Club and Sierra Nevada Community Aquatics came out to Reno City Hall to voice their concerns to the council who later decided to reject the proposal to close the pool. They also voted against reduced hours at the city pools for the next swimming season.

"They heard the concerns of the community and are trying to find ways in the tough times to keep the pools open," said Chip Hobson, President of Sierra Nevada Community Aquatics.

The city still has to re-budget an additional $209,200, and that will be addressed at an August 6th workshop.

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