CALEXICO – After months of negotiations with the Police Officers Association (POA), Calexico’s city council held a special meeting Tuesday, January 17, to discuss a potential agreement with the law enforcement agency in order to balance the city’s fiscal year budget.
“We received a counter proposal from the POA that needed to be considered by the city council in closed session to give the city manager direction to move forward,” said Armando Villa, city manager of Calexico. “After an hour of deliberating the POA’s proposal, we agreed to move forward and extend the POA’s memorandum of understanding for 18 months.”
Previously, the council had asked the POA to cut the police department’s budget by $560,000, to which the POA complied and actually exceeded the amount by $13,000 with a total savings of $573,000.
“Last week we presented the city council with a balanced mid-year budget, and we made sure they knew we needed to have an approved contract by the POA, which is about $562,000 and the Fire Fighters Association to present a balanced budget,” explained Villa.
According to Villa, the city council agreed to extend the POA’s contract from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.
“City council gave us authority to entertain a tentative MOU that still needs to be voted on by the POA,” said Villa. “The contract has not yet been made public because the POA still needs to vote on it. Once that is done, the plan is to bring it back formal and ratified, to next week’s public city council meeting for approval.”
Villa said other negotiations with the Fire Fighters Association, city supervisors and water operators are still pending.
“We still need the FFA to come to the table and agree to some concessions so we can present and implement a balanced budget,” he said. “We are very close with the action that was given today and am 95 percent sure that we will end up with a formal agreement by next week.”
On November 16, as a possible alternative to the city’s $3.9 million deficit, the city council voted in favor of seeking alternatives for public safety and law enforcement after not coming to an understanding with the POA. This decision was made after Villa elaborating on the city’s deficit, saying over the last five years the city had spent between 50 to 75 percent of the $17 million city general budget on public safety.
According to Villa, the final agreement between the POA and the city will be discussed in during the next city council meeting.