San Jose leaders paint grim budget picture without pension reform

By John Woolfolk | Mercury News — With life hanging in the balance, San Jose police and firefighters will take minutes longer to respond to emergencies. City libraries and community centers, some newly built, will sit locked and empty. There will be no more city recreation programs, and roads will continue to deteriorate.

That was the ugly picture of San Jose’s future that city leaders laid out Tuesday as they unveiled their case for declaring a “fiscal and service-level emergency” to justify rolling back the soaring costs for city workers’ pensions.

“We are in a fiscal crisis,” City Manager Debra Figone said. “Unless the city acts now to reduce these costs, the only choice will be to further reduce services to unacceptable levels. Further reductions of the magnitude necessary to pay retirement costs will cause the health, safety and well-being of our residents to be placed in critical and unacceptable risk.”  Continue reading . . .

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