Monday, April 2, 2012

City of Fairfield strggles with their city budget

Difficult year to be a city employee.

Fire Engineering from Times-Herald, 4/1/12. "City of Fairfield will be asked to declare fiscal emergency"
Catchy title!

"Fairfield is facing financial crisis and when city leaders meet Tuesday, they'll be asked to declare a fiscal emergency. "Most of our community is unaware that Sacramento has seized more than $44 million in the last three years from Fairfield to deal with their budget mess," City Manager Sean Quinn said in a press release. "While the city has been fiscally responsible, balancing budgets during the recession, the state financial take-aways have simply been too much."

Quinn is asking the City Council to approve a plan to cut millions more from the city's budget by closing, or severely limiting, operating hours at most, if not all, community facilities and reducing police and fire services. He's also proposing to eliminate most, if not all, code enforcement and crime, drug and gang prevention activities and resources for street maintenance. Also proposed is outsourcing the city's entire planning and building inspection activities.

Fairfield has already cut $37 million and eliminated 150 staff positions, Quinn said. Key city services eliminated or significantly reduced include crime prevention and fire prevention, City Hall at the Mall, recreation programs, building inspection, street maintenance, code enforcement, crime prevention, economic development, and affordable housing activities. In addition, the city cut 19 sworn police officer positions and the crime suppression unit.

After years of such cuts, Quinn said the city can no longer make budget cuts without eliminating programs and services "that are vital to protecting the health and safety of residents and businesses" to maintain quality of life in the city. With the next proposed cuts, Quinn says the city will generate enough savings to balance the city budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year but will see the number of full-time equivalent employees at its lowest level in 20 years.Quinn said the fiscal emergency declaration is also an effort to educate the community and seek taxpayer input."

Submitted by Jim Alex

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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