Fresno's Plans for Budget Surplus

October 3, 2008 7:21:45 PM PDT
Just as Washington lawmakers approved the financial bailout, the city of Fresno announced it has plenty of extra cash.Mayor Alan Autry announced that the city of Fresno has more than four and a half million dollars in surplus. Of that amount just over a million and a half dollars will go towards a public safety hiring program.

Just over a million more will be used on infrastructure improvements. And more than 600-thousand will be added to an already established rainy day fund.

The mayor says investing in public safety is his top priority. The extra money is funds the police department hopes to use to hire 15 to 20 new officers.

Fresno Mayor Alan Autry is proud that while many other California cities are struggling with budget deficits, Fresno has managed to stay in the black.

Fresno Mayor Alan Autry said, "It's a day to feel good to be a Fresnan. There is some good financial news here in the midst of all the bad news out there and it's a big thing for the people of Fresno and the people at city hall."

For the police department the one point 6 million being put aside would be in anticipation of a universal hiring plan.

The money would pay for a fraction of new officer's salaries. The city would then match the remaining costs as part of the grant.

Deputy Chief Roger Enmark says the department needs to keep up with the demands of a growing community.

Roger Enmark said, "If you don't have safe community your not going to have a community that people want to come to, build their businesses, raise their families so I think it has to be number one."

2 hundred twenty thousand dollars of the budget surplus has been designated to cover the costs of booking fees at the Fresno County Jail. Each inmate the police department brings in costs 85 dollars.

Autry says it's time to think of non traditional ways to get the most from taxpayer money.

"We have to change the way we look at things. And get innovative creative in every aspect of business of our city including the policing of our city."

The mayor's plan will still go before the city council on Tuesday. But so far the council president and police officers union representatives say they are in support of the spending plan.

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