The City of Lake Forest Park reduces the size of its government as of July 1

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From the City Council

In response to Citizens' concerns over the affordability of government the Community and Government Affairs and the Community Services Manager positions have been eliminated as of July 1. These positions were responsible for a diverse set of tasks within the City from community communication and response to citizen concerns to grant writing and execution.

These staff cuts are part of the current trend in government reduction that has occurred in Lake Forest Park over the last 4 years, responding to a financial structural gap that was brought on by the 1% limit to property tax revenues, decreasing budget revenues, and the identification of inefficiencies in government services. 

Five permanent full-time equivalents (FTEs) were eliminated in the 2009-10 and 4 in the 2011-12 biennial budgets. These reductions represent approximately a 13% decrease in permanent staff. In addition, salary savings were incurred as staff was obligated to take 5 furlough days per year during the 2011-12 biennium budget.

The City Council made these adjustments to the City Administration’s proposed 2011-2012 biennium budget late last year in response to citizens’ requests to not increase property taxes by reducing spending. The City Council voted 6-1 to decline the 1% increase in property tax revenue allowed by law in 2011. The Council Members unanimously voted to reduce salaries for all City staff including the Mayor’s and Council Members’. 

“The citizens want a fiscally responsible government. The Council is working on a plan that balances the demand for City services with the limited available revenues that are available in the new state of the economy” said Ed Sterner, Chair of the Budget Committee. 

 Deputy Mayor, Dwight Thompson of the Budget Committee said, 
“the community has entrusted us to be good stewards of their tax dollars.” The City has cut $824,000 from the 2011-21 biennial budget, which followed cuts of $922,000 in the 2009-10 biennial budget.

These positions are expected to impact the City’s ability to provide timely communication with citizens regarding City services and decrease its involvement with community human services organizations. 

Several duties will be shifted to remaining staff, however, the reductions will limit the City’s competitiveness and responsiveness to grants and will force changes to simplify the maintenance of the City website. Concerned citizens are encouraged to contact the City Council regarding changes to services that impact them.


1 comments:

Anonymous,  July 21, 2011 at 1:18 PM  

Those two positions weren't eliminated, Mr. Cline, as you know. They were consolidated and the Council chose to hold off filling that position until October. The community would have a lot more trust in their city government if city government weren't so busy trying to spin everything.

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