FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Fresno’s Mayor Jerry Dyer revealed his 2022 fiscal year budget proposal, which totals more than $1.4 billion.
The budget includes improvements to public safety, helping those experiencing homelessness, and public works.
The mayor says federal aid from the American Rescue Plan, combined with a projected increase in revenue, will see Fresno prepared for a post-pandemic future.
“The city of Fresno is poised to rebound financially faster than any city in California,” Dyer said.
Over $374 million is allocated in the city’s general fund, a large portion of that will go toward public safety.
“This budget will be the first of many that will serve to restore staffing levels of both sworn police personnel and professional staff,” Dyer said.
Mayor Dyer is budgeting for 120 police personnel to be hired over a 15 months period. Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama wants to get his department up to par to serve Fresno’s growing population.
“The number of police officers remains at 838 with 60 vacancies and 88 officers on long-term absences, I actually have 690 police officers working,” Balderrama said. “Our city is growing, we need to grow as well.”
Additionally, Mayor Dyer is budgeting for additional firefighters in the 2022 budget. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donnis said her department is operating at the same staffing levels it was in 1980 when the population of Fresno was much less. Dyer says the increase in fire personnel will mean the daily number of firefighters in Fresno will go from 81 to 95.
“42 firefighters are being added in the fiscal year 2022 budget bringing the total number of firefighters to 347.”
The mayor also revealed that there are 4,000 people currently experiencing homelessnes in Fresno and the proposed budget will continue his efforts to combat this issue. Dyer wants to create the Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART) to better connect those experiencing homelessness to resources.
“This team will be comprised of contracted outreach workers from community-based organizations who will serve as the primary point of contact with our homeless population.”
Other initiatives in the FY2022 budget include the creation of an Office of Community Affairs to help connect city government officials with minority communities and minority-owned businesses, and increase city government accessiblity to those groups. The budget also sets asides funds for the creation of a Senior Activity Center.
The mayor’s budget is set to be discussed by the city council on Thursday. It must be adopted by the council before taking effect.