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Durham city manager presents budget; 35 jobs cut

Posted May 18, 2009
Updated May 19, 2009

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— Durham City Manager Thomas Bonfield presented a proposed budget of $344.4 million, a 3.1 percent decrease from last year’s adopted budget, to the City Council Monday evening.

“We have been closely watching current economic trends, and it appears that residential real estate and personal property tax growth will remain mostly stagnant, sales tax revenue will decline, and that overall city revenue growth will also decline for the next fiscal year,” Bonfield said in a statement.

Bonfield said budget talks began for the 2009-10 fiscal year with a projected $24 million to $40 million deficit.

With the property tax remaining at 54 cents per $100 valuation, the proposed budget will establish a $750,000 neighborhood revitalization fund; a $500,000 deferred maintenance fund; and will include an average water and sewer rate increase of 9.25 percent, which is less than the 9.5 percent projected earlier this year.

Bonfield said the impact on city employee benefits is significant, but necessary to avoid program cuts and additional layoffs.

“Balancing this year’s budget has been especially challenging and has involved some difficult decisions. It’s never easy when you eliminate jobs, because you ultimately are affecting not only those employees, but their families as well,” Bonfield said.

The draft budget calls for eliminating 113 city jobs, but 78 of those positions are currently vacant.

In addition, pay-for-performance increases will not be awarded. However, police officers and firefighters will receive 3 percent anniversary increases, totaling $1.8 million.

Other employee benefit reductions include decreased contributions to 401(k) plans and increased health care insurance premiums.

Public hearings on the budget begin June 1. Final approval is scheduled for June 15.

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  • affirmativediversity May 19, 2009

    Bohican:

    The "reduction in employee health benefits" is just stoking the "nationalized healthcare" fire. After all if they can increase the number of people who have to worry about "healthcare" it will make it much easier to sell their socialist agenda.

    Simply put...the people who are and have been screaming the loudest about "a healthcare crisis" are the very same people CAUSING A HEALTHCARE CRISIS...and that's THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!

    Why is it they can so easily cut healthcare to their employees BUT find themselves unable to cut healthcare to criminal migrants?

  • affirmativediversity May 19, 2009

    Maybe they should cut that 2.3 million ped bridge they just announce the other day?

  • KevinUNC97 May 19, 2009

    Only 35 less employees in Durham? Durham has the largest bureacracy that I have ever seen in any NC city. For so many people to be well compensated for meaningless jobs, you would think that the city would be a great place to live? This was a prime opportunity to get rid of the waste, starting with elimination of Public Affairs Dept with 2 TV stations. There are so many questionable positions in Durham city government, that I would be here all day naming them.

  • Bohican May 19, 2009

    As a City employee Raleigh,I am very dissappointed that "significant reduction in employee benefits" is not more clearly defined. I fully expect not to see much money despite the fact the our city manager was awarded a 5% salary increase (that makes 57% increase since his hiring). That being said, I am more concerned about health benefits for my family that I am about extra money. Wouldn't it be great if people had the courage and emotional fortitude (leadership) to just say what they mean with a straight face. THIS IS FOR ALL CITY MANAGERS: If the facts support your decision, you do what is right for the city and not one employee will question you if you lead by example. This means you accept the same salary cut, loss of benefits and allow people to view your data. No one likes less but everyone understands the truth. Can't wait to see Raleigh try to hide behind the new Convention Center, Art funding etc etc. All I would is fairness.

  • meh2 May 19, 2009

    I saw three guys leaning on shovels the other day - they could probably be let go. I know, then the shovels would have to stand up by themselves.

  • ThePunisher May 19, 2009

    See it's not all that hard to spend less