San Carlos to cut cops, firefighters
SAN CARLOS, CA (KGO) -- Tough economic times mean tough decisions. One Bay Area city is considering balancing its budget by eliminating its police and fire departments. The San Carlos City Council weighed its options on Monday night and heard plenty from the community about this.
There weren't any good options to choose from and some young advocates made a valiant effort to try to make their case.
They have boiled it down to choosing between kids and their youth center and those who save lives.
"It is a really fun safe place for kids to spend time, play games like basketball, ping pong, and make snacks," said Brendan Burns, a young boy.
"There is a reason why the youth center is such a good place to go to, because we protect it," said San Carlos Police Sgt. Eric Stanley.
"It's very emotional; change is difficult for all of us," said the San Carlos administrative services director Jeff Maltbie.
San Carlos city officials have laid out two plans for balancing the budget. One is to outsource the fire and police departments to the San Mateo County Sheriff and CAL FIRE. This move would save the city $5 million a year.
"We believe the sheriff's department and CAL FIRE would be committed to providing the same standard of safety the city has come to expect," said Maltbie.
Or the city can make a number of cuts to a variety of services, which would include closing the youth center.
The room was full of people who wanted to weigh in at Monday night's city council meeting, including young activists from both sides of the argument.
"We raised money and had lemonade sales and bake sales as a donation to the police and fire department and we raised $101.20," said Justin Levine, a young boy.
"My friend Corry and I have collected 500 signatures from people who do not want the youth center to close," said Burns.
City employees say San Carlos has been cutting its budget for 11 years now and there's just not much else to cut. They also point out as radical as the idea of eliminating police and fire may sound, it could soon be coming to your community.
"San Carlos is not the only city looking at this right now, Millbrae and San Bruno are talking about a consolidation, the city of San Mateo and Burlingame," said Maltbie.
Those other cities listed are looking into consolidation, but the San Carlos City Council decided to move forward on eliminating the police and fire departments. There are still some details they want to tighten up, but so far the plan is getting a green light.
san carlos, peninsula news, amy hollyfield
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