City of Clovis Budget Shortfall

December 22, 2008 2:04:57 PM PST
The City of Clovis will work to solve a nearly $2-million dollar deficit on Tuesday, caused by declining sales tax and development fees. It's hoped a Best Buy store under construction will help generate more sales tax for the next fiscal year. But in order to solve the current problems, City Council members will vote Tuesday on whether to approve spending cuts and take money out of the emergency funds.The lagging economy has caused budget problems for the City of Clovis. In order to solve a nearly 2 million dollar shortfall, leaders are considering taking $400-thousand dollars out of the emergency reserve.

Bob Whalen, Clovis Mayor said, "It is not a significant amount of money but I think principally it's a step in a direction that causes all of the council members and staff to kind of stand up and take notice and say this is really a serious problem that we're facing."

Whalen said the budget shortfall won't have a significant effect on public safety. The Police Department is cutting spending by keeping some patrol cars on the fleet for another year and the Fire Department was able to save money by not filling vacant positions.

Mayor Whalen is hoping new retail development will be part of the city's salvation as Clovis tackles future budgets.

Mayor Whalen said, "as they spend it, that's more sales tax revenues for the City of Clovis and that allows us to provide more police and fire protection for citizens."

A new Best Buy store is expected to open before year's end at Herndon and Willow. Nearby store owners like Monica and Tony Au at Embroid Me are also anxiously awaiting the store's opening.

Business owner Monica Au said, "More exposure. I think Best Buy attracts a lot of people. We are very excited about it. All the stores are excited about the Best Buy coming over.

A new Wal-Mart supercenter and other retail stores are also planning to set up shop in Clovis. The goal is to give citizens more places to spend their money locally and therefore generate more tax dollars.

The City Council will vote to amend the city's budget during Tuesday's council meeting. During the same meeting, they will also address retail vacancies on Shaw Avenue, which is a current problem area.

Currently, it's estimated nearly 9% percent of storefronts on that street sit empty.


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