Fresno city and county begin budget hearings

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Fresno City Council's open budget discussions included discussions with the Fire Department, and talks about reducing the cost of the city's health insurance program. But the Police Department was the focus of talks behind closed doors, in executive session as the city hopes to get concessions from the Fresno Police Officers Association.

"Clearly the police officers are the biggest union and 2/3rds of our budget, so clearly everything kind of hinges one way or another on how we deal with them and what concessions if any we receive and if we don't how do we go and find other ways to go."

While city council member Lee Brand is optimistic a deal can be reached police officers don't have to bargain, and they can't be laid off.

Fresno County's law enforcement was a topic at the Board of Supervisors budget discussions. The Sheriff's Office, Probation and the District Attorney's office are expecting slight budget increases this year. Board Chair Debbie Poochigian says things are getting better. "Better for us right now. some of the decisions this board has made in the last 18 months has given us a little extra money we've got that to we're got ongoing expenses but a little bit of extra money to cover it this year."

That money means a roughly 7% increase in the County budget. It came from contentious cuts to pay and benefits for six-thousand county workers.

Both the county and the city each expect to continue budget talks for the next week, hoping to come up with a balanced budget by the end of the month.

Local governments are struggling to come up with balanced budgets.

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budget cuts, fresno, fresno county, politics, gene haagenson
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