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La Quinta looking at mass city worker layoffs

25 percent of staff could be laid off in January or February

LA QUINTA, Calif. - An effort to reduce La Quinta's $1.8 million budget deficit could cost nearly two dozen people their jobs.

City Manager Frank Spevacek confirmed 22 of the city's 87 employees were informed they could be laid off as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Spevacek said the cuts would be to positions across the board, except for public safety.

"At one time, we were one of the fastest-growing cities in California," said Spevacek.  "We were processing development, we had a very active capital-improvement program.  Now we have reduced capital improvement, reduced building.  So the demand for certain services at City Hall has been reduced.  How can we do things smarter and leaner because we don't have the revenue that we once enjoyed?"

The proposal will go before La Quinta's City Council on Jan. 2.

La Quinta currently has a cash reserve of $63 million.  However, Spevacek said "We're also in a position where we have no more funds ahead of us to fund capital improvement, and with the state's elimination of redevelopment funds, $41 million of our cash reserve is subject to seizure by the state."

Among the recommendations is the creation of four new positions.  Councilmember Linda Evans said employees who are laid off will have the option of applying for the new positions.

Two of the newly created jobs will be in the city manager's office, one will be in community development and one will be in the Public Works Department.

The city manager's office currently employees 11 people; however, Spevacek said some of those positions are also on the chopping block.

Spevacek has been city manager since June 2012.

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