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List of Rejected Budget Cuts Reveals Thinking Behind Budget Proposal

Cuts that were cut may become key as budget season moves forward.

Dollar

Dollar

Rejected Cuts

  • $924,576: close Fire Station 201

  • $720,571: reduce emergency medical services by not staffing Medic 210

  • $619,728: reduce community policing program

  • $604,440: redeploy fire-suppression staff from Engine 204 throughout the city

  • $500,000: reduce overtime pay

  • $476,930: eliminate school crossing guard program

  • $460,546: reduce parking enforcement

  • $306,653: reduce the number of call-takers at the emergency communications center

  • $300,000: reduce fuel costs for city vehicles

  • $259,080: elimination of life insurance for city retirees

  • $234,632: reduce emergency medical services by discontinuing peak hors medic unit

  • $160,684: elimination of city adult dental emergency program

  • $151,678: eliminate initial screening for security at courthouse

  • $151,678: reduce staff support at visitor’s center for the jail

  • $151,678: eliminate inmate work detail

  • $148,372: reduce resources available for prosecution of misdemeanors

  • $117,065: discontinue school resource officer service in middle schools

  • $101,800: reduce resources available for classification of inmates by reducing staff support

  • $92,350: eliminate the GED program at the jail

  • $91,923: reduce treatment for seriously emotionally disturbed youth and their families by reducing staff support

  • $88,532: reduce staff support for gang investigations

  • $75,839: reduce security presence for civil cases at the courthouse

  • $75,839: reduce warrant services

  • $75,569: eliminate police youth assistance by reducing staff support

  • $72,668: reduced staff support of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program

  • $56,533: elimination of Sunday hours at the central library

  • $50,000: reduce by one-third the number of appointments provided by the regionally funded dentist

  • $50,000: reduce call back pay cost through adjustment to policy

  • $30,350: reduce staff support of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cases

  • $44,316: reduce public information provided about Department of Children and Family Services programs and services by reducing staff support

  • $40,000: transfer Housing Grant Fund expenses for a portion of the office space lease and the city match for a HOME grant to use dedicated affordable housing revenues

  • $40,000: increase transit fees for paratransit users

  • $19,375: elimination of contracted security guard services at Burke Library

  • $15,000: reduce feasibility studies for special economic development projects by half

  • $10,000: decrease Other Post Employment Benefits pay to retiree health costs

  • $10,000: raise copay for senior taxi

Imagine a world without school crossing guards or security screening at the courthouse — a city so strapped for cash it closes one of its fire stations and eliminates life insurance for its retired workers. That’s the disaster scenario outlined in Budget Memo 7, which outlines budget cuts that were considered this year but rejected.

“The attached list reflects every item that was considered during the process,” wrote budget director Nelsie Smith. “In some cases, an item was subsequently withdrawn by the department and replaced with a different option.”

Late last year, the city manager directed city agencies to identify a number of potential cuts. Budget officials considered the list in January and put together their own list of potential cuts. That list was later revised to the $13.8 million worth of budget reductions City Manager Rashad Young recommended late last month — a set of cuts that took advantage of potential budget reductions outlined in the disaster scenario.

“For example, the entire inmate work detail program was considered for elimination,” wrote Smith. “Ultimately, one detail was eliminated, both the other two, which are reflected on this list, are still funded in the budget.”

THE LIST OF REJECTED CUTS may be a forecast for reductions next year. If the economy is sluggish, and city officials have to revise their revenue expectations, Alexandria City Council members may be facing a future where they have to reduce courthouse security or parking enforcement. Last year, for example, the original forecast was for a $9 million shortfall. But council members ended up facing a $31 million shortfall. The projection for next year’s shortfall is $14 million, although that number may well rise if the economy tanks.

“Let’s not make our problem worse by adding more money to the operating budget. The way we can make it better is by making capital investments,” said Councilman Justin Wilson. “If we were to grab a project that is funded next year and fund it now and get it done, that comes out of the $14 million gap.”

The list of potential cuts may end up being a crucial list as the debate about fiscal year 2014 moves forward in the coming weeks. As members of the community advocate restoring funding for mental health services or human services, they will be armed with specific cuts that have already been identified and evaluated.

“It may well be that there are some things on this list that could end up being substituted for cuts that did make the city manager’s proposed budget,” Councilman Tim Lovain.