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Deficits projected for El Centro

January 17, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council voted to move ahead with some of the city's spending priorities despite projected deficits in incoming years.

The priorities include hiring additional firefighters, purchasing defibrillating machines and hiring a risk manager to help reduce the city's $3 million outlay for workers' compensation claims.

According to a confidential report made available to the council but not released to the public, the city has had 149 workers' comp claims since 1997. More than 20 percent of the city's workforce has filed claims.

"I can't believe that we can stay in business," said Mayor Larry Grogan.

With current revenues and expenditures, the city is facing a budget deficit in 2004 of $59,110. By 2006, the deficit would rise to $4.2 million. With current revenues and increased expenditures as requested by all city departments, the deficits would begin in 2003 at $289,623 and by 2006 reach $15.8 million.


To fund the new expenditures, the City Council voted to consider such revenue enhancements as increased and better-implemented user fees; a quarter-cent increase in the local sales tax; an increase in the transient occupancy tax or hotel tax; and debt refinancing alternatives for infrastructure improvements such as new fire stations.

In other business, the council voted to increase the city clerk's pay retroactive to Aug. 1, 2000. Figuring in an increased base salary effective that date, the pay increase is equivalent to 15.5 percent through 2003.

In Redevelopment Agency business, the council approved the RDA's 2001-02 budget of $6.9 million and 2002-03 budget of $3.5 million.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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