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City Avoids Major Cuts
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While still involved in negotiations with employee representatives, the City of Riverbank is working toward reducing expenditures to meet a tough economy but has not yet announced any major cutbacks.

"We have made no layoffs yet, other than in part-time jobs. But that doesn't mean they are off the table. There is still the potential for layoffs," City Manager Rich Holmer commented on Friday.

"When we started we were looking at a close to a $1 million deficit. Now we have brought it down to about $400,000," he added.

Holmer predicted there will be no COLA (cost of living adjustment) given this year and the 2009-2010 budget will be "the most frugal" since 1995.

There are some services, minor in nature, that the city already has eliminated to achieve savings.

"Channel 2 Broadband, for example, will not happen for a while. There will be no Christmas tree pickup this year. Out of state meetings and conferences will continue but only if another government agency is paying for the travel and expenses," said Holmer.

The voluntary furloughs announced a month ago are drawing some response. Half a dozen employees already have applied to take time off without pay and so reduce the strain on the city coffers.

The city has revised the rules on administrative leave that formerly allocated administrators extra vacation and allowed them to cash it out if they failed to take the leave. New rules do not allow the cashing out of administrative leave. They must either take it or lose it.