Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com John Shirey attends the City Council meeting Tuesday where the council voted to continue exploring an arena financing deal.

Sacramento city manager asked to restore more services with Measure U funds

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 10:04 am

Armed with $5 million in new sales tax money, the Sacramento City Council wasn't satisfied Tuesday night with the depth of restorations being recommended by City Manager John Shirey.

As a result, Shirey will take the next three weeks coming up with a new plan that would restore more services than he had initially proposed to the Fire Department and city pools.

City voters approved Measure U in November, agreeing to raise the city sales tax rate by half a percentage point starting April 1.

City officials expect the first wave of Measure U funds – estimated at $5 million – to show up in their coffers in late June.

The sales tax increase will generate $27 million a year. Later this spring, the City Council will vote on how to spend that money for the 2013-14 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Shirey released a list of recommendations last week for how to spend the first $5 million in the current fiscal year. Those proposals included funding a class at the Police Academy beginning in July that would result in between 40 and 50 new officers on the street later this year, funding to keep firefighters whose jobs were in jeopardy with the expiration of a federal grant, restoring pool hours and park maintenance projects.

But council members apparently wanted more, lobbying Shirey in recent days to beef up the restorations to the Fire Department and pools.

Shirey's proposal called for Measure U funds to open six pools: Clunie, Doyle, George Sim, Johnston, McClatchy and at the Pannell Center. Five wading pools were also slated to be kept open.

But council members asked the city manager to add between three and five pools to the list of those facilities that should be opened this summer. Pools that could be funded include Tahoe Park, Glenn Hall, Southside Park, Oki and Mangan.

Opening all of those additional pools through the end of June would require roughly $100,000 in Measure U funds.

Council members also requested that Measure U funds be used to eliminate one of three rotating "brownouts" of fire rigs. Shirey had recommended using funding to avoid shutting down a fourth fire apparatus, but council members wanted more.

Eliminating a brownout would cost an estimated $450,000, Shirey said.

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