City of Fresno Declares Fiscal Emergency

Thursday, May 6, 2010
By Paul Martin

Tommy Tran
ABCLocal.com

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The city of Fresno is facing a $30.6 million budget shortfall and the mayor announced she wants to cut hundreds of city jobs.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin says 225 jobs will be eliminated and 81 vacancies will go unfilled. It means roughly one out of every 12 city workers will be let go.

At a news conference Monday, Swearengin says the city is in a state of “fiscal emergency.”

In addition to the cuts, outsourcing city services to the private sector and charging a franchise fee is a big part of her plan. In return the city would receive millions of dollars in revenue.

Swearengin said, “These economic conditions force us to be innovative and creative. And we’ve responded with a budget filled with pain. But it’s also a budget with promise.”

Swearengin hopes to have her “fiscal emergency” budget approved by the city council on Thursday.

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CITY OF FRESNO – MEDIA RELEASE

Mayor Swearengin Declares Fiscal Emergency, Delivers Plan to Deal with Budget Shortfall

05/03/2010

Mayor Ashley Swearengin today declared a fiscal emergency for the City of Fresno and released a proposed fiscal year 2011 budget that offers a three-pronged plan to address the City’s Fresno’s $30.6 million revenue shortfall.

Mayor Swearengin said the fiscal emergency declaration, which will be presented to City Council Thursday for approval, is necessary to allow the City to use its emergency reserves to help meet the daunting budget challenges by paying for one-time expenses related to budget cuts.

The proposed $213.2 million general fund budget takes into account a 4.5 percent expected decline in resources from fiscal year 2010. The fiscal year 2011 proposed budget is 13.2 percent lower than the actual fiscal year 2008 general fund budget.

“This budget process has been one of the most demanding in the City’s history,” Mayor Swearengin said. “We’re experiencing an unprecedented decline in virtually every revenue stream at the same time that we’re seeing cost increases in areas such as retirement, health and welfare insurance, worker’s compensation, property and liability insurance and additional debt caused by unrealized investments.

“This budget proposal reflects the bleak economic situation that Fresno and cities through California have been dealing with for some time now. However, while this is a budget with pain, it’s also a budget with promise — the challenging but fiscally prudent decisions we’ve made in this budget will put us on the path to fiscal health.

“We’ve protected resources devoted to public safety, and we’ve acted in the best interest of our community by living within our means. We’re positioned to be in better shape coming out of this economic storm  we’ll be a leaner and more efficient organization, one that will be poised to take advantage of opportunities that will present themselves as the economy improves.”

In releasing the proposed budget at a City Hall news conference today, Mayor Swearengin said there are three major strategies to address the shortfall:

The Rest…HERE

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