Anaheim Looking at Smallest Workforce in Two Decades

The city of Anaheim is projecting its smallest workforce in more than 20 years for fiscal 2010-11 after the City Council passed a $1.3 billion budget this week that calls for 162 fewer workers than it has now.

At this point, it looks as if the staff reductions, which will bring the city’s total employee count to 2,001, can be handled through attrition, with roughly one-third coming from the Police Department.

However, Mayor Curt Pringle wants another $1.5 million in cuts. City staffers said they should be able to do that without resorting to layoffs.

For example, by not filling vacancies, the number of sworn police officers will drop by 30 to 370. Civilian police staff will be reduced by 26 to 182, with some being moved to other departments.

Pringle is worried about the amount the city has in reserves. The new budget would leave the city with 4.4 percent of its $252 million general fund in reserve. That number, Pringle said, should be at least 5 percent.

“We can make that happen,” said acting Finance Director Kristine Ridge, referring to the additional $1.5 million in cuts. Layoffs, she said, “would be one of the last things we would go to” if all other ways to reduce the budget were exhausted.

During the council meeting Tuesday night, Pringle noted that the city is relying on reserves for the third consecutive year. And he said he is worried that sales tax revenue estimates in particular may fall short if the economy fails to improve.

Ridge acknowledged that she and other officials are worried about the overall economic forecast and how realistic projections are that things might start looking better later this year.

The Major League Baseball All-Star game, which will be played in Angel Stadium next month, will definitely help matters. The city is projecting that 100,000 visitors will spend $89 million throughout the area during All-Star week.

Pringle warned the city must carefully monitor income. And if revenue estimates decline in coming months, he said the city must immediately implement more spending reductions.