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City eyes branch library closure

Balanced budget made public at Tuesday's City Council meeting
By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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In its preliminary budget made public at Tuesday's City Council meeting, Folsom officials recommended closing the doors on the relatively new Norman R. Siefkin Public Library, eliminating the library director's position and mothballing the Folsom Fire Department's ladder truck company. Overall, the city has eliminated 138 positions since 2008, with only 30-40 of those being actual layoffs. The others were lost through attrition. According to City Manager Kerry Miller, the budget is balanced and the city has reached agreements with all employee bargaining units except the firefighters' union. He said it's also the fourth year in a row the city has put together a "shrinking" general fund budget. Without the agreements struck with the unions, Miller said the financial picture would be very different. "Without those concessions, we'd be facing a $1.5 million deficit in the general fund," he said. "That's about another 20 full-time employees we would have to cut." City officials also didn't have to get new loans to help the bottom line. "There is no new debt in this budget," said city finance director Jim Francis. Miller said the proposed changes to the fire department means a reduction in overtime costs. "A truck company takes four staff while an engine company requires three," Miller said. All the changes, including browning out a medic unit between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., should save the city about $300,000, he said. Francis said the medic unit restructure wouldn't affect paramedic response, since firefighters also fill that role. The Siefkin library, located at Vista del Lago High School, is a joint-use facility with the Folsom Cordova Unified School District that opened in 2008. Miller said the city is proposing the temporary closure of the library and the elimination of the library director position, currently held by Katy Curl. Miller said the city would divert those resources to the main Georgia Murray Library. City officials point to the state budget and Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed cuts, including the elimination of all library funding, as one of the reasons behind the city's actions. "We're concerned we can't sustain two libraries at their current level," Miller said. "We're anticipating at least a 50-percent reduction (in state funding)." For the full story by Telegraph reporter Laura Newell, see the April 20 edition of the newspaper.