City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

April 29, 2013
Sacramento budget: more cops, but only with pension help

The Sacramento city manager has proposed hiring dozens of new police officers - but only if the city's existing cops agree to pay into their pensions.

In his 2013-14 budget released Monday, City Manager John Shirey proposed hiring 58 uniformed police officers with funding from a recent increase in the city sales tax. Those officers - hired over the next 18 months - would beef up street patrols and help the department investigate more violent felonies.

But Shirey said he would withdraw that recommendation if the Sacramento Police Officers Association, the union representing city police officers and sergeants, does not agree to have its members pick up the full employee contribution into their pensions by July 1.

Most city employees pay an employee share of pension contributions; the city picks up an employer share. The police union is the largest in the city that does not pay into its retirement plan.

Dustin Smith, the head of the police officers union, said the organization and city officials are in "active bargaining sessions" and that more talks are planned.

"We're still hoping we can bargain some type of deal that works out for both the community and the officers who serve it," he said.

The City Council will receive its first formal briefing on the budget at its May 7 meeting and is scheduled to adopt the budget June 11.

Funding from Measure U - the sales tax increase approved by city voters in November - will help fund 80 positions in the Fire Department, almost all of which will be filled by sworn firefighters.

Dozens more positions in the parks department will be filled. That increase will allow the city to open 11 swimming pools and five wading pools, extend community center hours and provide more maintenance at city parks.

The 2013-14 budget does include an $8.9 million deficit, which Shirey said would be addressed mostly through the elimination of vacant positions. The city has said Measure U sales tax revenue would be used only to restore services lost during the economic downturn, not to fill budget gaps.

While this year's budget is the first since 2008 that does not include layoffs in the city workforce, Shirey said modest increases in sales and property tax revenue combined with the city's future pension obligations mean the city is not in the clear.

The city's annual contribution to the California Public Employees' Retirement System will increase by nearly $17 million by 2019 to make up for investment losses to the pension fund, city budget officials said.

"The pension costs really are the Pac-Man that's eating our budget," Shirey said.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

Poll

Does the Kings' poor performance of late impact the arena work?

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

Ryan Lillis on Twitter

Follow "Ryan_Lillis" on Twitter

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Sacramento City Resources

City Web Sites

How to contact city officials