The Elk Grove City Budget, The Prison Deal, Police and Election Year Politics

It’s that time of year where local government prepare and start debating the new fiscal year budget which starts July 1. While Elk Grove...

It’s that time of year where local government prepare and start debating the new fiscal year budget which starts July 1.

While Elk Grove is not currently suffering from the budget woes of city’s like Hercules, Stockton, Sacramento or Lincoln, there are some potential issues percolating that could make this year’s budget a politically interesting process.

Like many city’s, the lions share of Elk Grove’s revenue is dedicated to public safety. Elk Grove, which operates is own police department, spends a full 60 percent of its budget on the police.

Currently the city is in negotiations with the Elk Grove Police Officers Association (EGPOA) for the agreement that is set to expire on June 30.

Last year when the city announced that the prison authority would be relocating to Elk Grove after being given a multi-million dollar incentive, EGPOA President Dan Koontz said he did not like the idea of using reserve funds to pay the incentive.

Perhaps Koontz and his members see the decline in reserve funding a bargaining chip the city can use in their negotiations with the EGPOA. The city could simply say there in no money left in reserves to grant a pay raise or to enhance benefits.

Of course these negotiations are not done in a vacuum – this is an election year with three of the five current council seeking either reelection or to become the city’s first directly elected mayor.

So as the EGPOA and the city negotiate, will Koontz be able to use the power of their endorsement to sway council members to their way of thinking? Or will council members ignore the power of an endorsement and look towards the long-term health of the city?

After all many of our neighboring city’s budget problems stem from public safety labor deals that paid overly generous health and pension benefits that have buried constituents in sea of red ink and diminished services. Conversely, Elk Grove Council Member Pat Hume easily won a second term in 2010 sans the EGPOA’s endorsement.

So as the city works towards the budget deadline, it will be interesting to see what happens with the negotiations and what the EGPOA does with their endorsements.

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Anonymous said...

Will the last Councilmember to jump in bed with the union please turn out the light. This bed is getting crowded.

Anonymous said...

good article. thoughtful and something to think about.

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