City manager: City Hall layoffs not recommended | ParkRecord.com

City manager: City Hall layoffs not recommended

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City Manager Tom Bakaly said this week he will not recommend layoffs at City Hall when he presents his budget proposal to Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council, choosing instead to make other changes to the staffing in his spending plan.

In an interview, Bakaly did not detail the changes he will propose to the elected officials. He called them "some organizational changes" in the municipal government that will be based on workload and Parkites’ demands for city services. It seems likely that Bakaly will look closely at the money budgeted for the Building Department, as an example, in response to the dramatic fall in construction activity during the recession.

The elected officials will receive Bakaly’s budget proposal on Monday. The first hearing is scheduled on Thursday. Williams and the City Council are scheduled to spend May and part of June crafting a spending plan. City Hall’s fiscal year starts on July 1. The budget normally is approved as the date approaches.

The talks this year will likely be difficult for the second consecutive year. Leaders have said City Hall is financially healthier than many other government entities, but the recession cut into key revenue sources like sales taxes and fees generated by the construction industry.

Bakaly on Wednesday held a well-attended meeting of City Hall staffers at the Santy Auditorium to preview the upcoming budget talks. The meeting was not open to the media.

According to Bakaly, 127 staffers attended the meeting in the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library and Education Center. The meeting lasted one hour, Bakaly said. The parking lot outside the building was filled, and police vehicles and vehicles assigned to other City Hall departments were seen parked outside.

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Bakaly said the Wednesday gathering was the third one in a series over the past two years and the first one since last fall. The budget was the dominant subject on Wednesday, he said. One of the previous meetings dealt with state retirement benefits for government workers.

According to the city manager, the staffers asked questions about the economy and its effects on the budget. He said some of the workers asked about the potential of changes to City Hall’s health-insurance plan and the amount of out-of-pocket expenses they may have to pay.

"It was really just communicating with them openly," Bakaly said.

It is not clear how critical staffing-related topics like the health insurance benefits and City Hall’s annual raises will be to the overall budget talks. The topics have not been of widespread interest to regular Parkites, but the mayor and City Council pore over City Hall’s pay plan and benefits annually.

City Hall’s construction projects, though, will likely perk ears among regular Parkites. One of the key decisions is expected to be whether the elected officials give the go-ahead on a $10.5 million renovation of the Racquet Club.