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Fresno council considers uncertain budget

Monday, June 10, 2013

The city council began hearings on a budget that's still up in the air. The Mayor was banking on voters approving her plan to bring in money by franchising residential garbage collection to a private company. The votes are still being counted, but passage of Measure G is in doubt. City Manager Mark Scott says other options are being considered.

"This particular budget was generated on the assumption of revenues from the residential solid waste franchise we're looking now to see how we can move things around and make ends meet."

The Mayor claimed the $4 million in the first year and $2.5 million in each successive year was a key part of the city's billion dollar budget. She threatened dire consequences, and cuts to city services, but according to Scott, she's working on other plans for the council to consider.

"And so the Mayor will come in and address the city council on Wednesday and discuss those strategy alternatives and engage the city council and hopefully they can help us with an analysis of the options we've got."

Despite the uncertainty, the budget hearings went on. Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown expressed his desire for more personnel.

"The number of firefighters who are on duty today is the same number of firefighters that were on duty in 1955."

Brown said he'd like to bump the present number of about 350 firefighters to 420. But told the council, the department can get by.

"It's becoming critical, we are not there yet."

The departments $ 58 million proposed budget is down about a million dollars from last year. The Mayor has implied the department could be cut even further if Measure G fails, Scott says the council will have to consider the alternatives.

"Bottom line, we've got to keep providing services to the public."

The budget hearings continue Tuesday. The big item will be the Fresno Police Departments nearly $150 million proposed budget.

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burglary, local, gene haagenson
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