(Angela Greenwood Reporting)
Fresno City administrators and council members have a big task ahead of them, figuring out how to fill a budget gap, after the defeat of Measure G.
There are no clear solutions on the table at this point... the mayor's options would mean either fewer officers on the streets or employee layoffs, but some say neither of those are necessary.
City leaders are scrambling to figure out how to pay the bills following the defeat of Measure G.
Councilman Blong Xiong said, "I'm still going with the mindset that I'm going to try to keep all of our employees."
On Wednesday, Mayor Swearengin offered two options, both involving deep cuts. The first would be the loss of 25 sworn police offers through attrition over the next year and the second would put 49 civilian positions on the chopping block.
The city could also close three of its five senior hot meals programs. "I would feel bad if I come her and it's not open," said Venetta Brown, one of nearly 100 seniors who visit the Sal Mosqueda Community Center regularly, where about 700 lunches are served each month. Those lunches are the only hot meals many seniors have access to.
The closures and lay-offs are merely suggestions at this point, but the Fresno Police Officers Association says cuts shouldn't even be an option.
FPOA President Jacky Parks said, "You continue with these silly threats again of... 'Oh, we're going to have to attrit police officers,' or 'Oh, we're going to have to lay off people,' when none of that is true; you have a better option."
The FPOA offered the city $9 million in concessions in exchange for a contract extension and the Fresno City Council re-visited that option on Thursday. "We're working extremely diligently. That's one of the possible avenues."
The city is not in as bad of shape as it seemed to be just a few days ago. The mayor announced on Wednesday an extra $2.3 million in the Fresno Redevelopment Agency funds.
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