Fiscal Emergency Declaration Looms For San Jose

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The city of San Jose is getting closer to declaring a fiscal emergency due to rising pension costs. This has the city preparing to put a pension reform measure on next year’s ballot.

Without pension reform, police and firefighters will have longer response times, and all branch libraries and community centers could be shuttered, according to San Jose City Manager Debra Figone. Figone’s budget manager, Jennifer Maguire, said that Figone is concerned about what she calls a fiscal disaster.

“The economic reality and its effect on our revenue sources, along with overall expenses that continue to increase beyond our revenue levels, have translated into a projected shortfall of $80.5 million next year,” said Maguire.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

The city council is expected to vote on December 6th whether to declare a fiscal emergency and put a pension reform measure on the March ballot. However, employee unions claim that would be an illegal election and they vow to fight it in court.

“We’ll file an injunction and it will get tied up in the courts for three to five years,” said city employee John Rigger. “How many more millions do you want to spend on that, when you could be negotiating and working with folks?”

Mayor Chuck Reed said in a statement that they have been talking to employees for the past six months, and now the time has come to act.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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