Prop Failure Will Impact Small Towns

May 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
If the ballot measures fail, the governor has threatened to borrow nearly $2-billion dollars from local governments. For Fresno, it could mean a loss of nearly $4-million dollars to next year's budget. But it's the smaller cities who will get hit hardest.

This little City of Dinuba in Tulare County has grown 33 percent in the last ten years. It's population is now over 15,000. The need for fire protection, police protection and other city services has grown astronomically.

But less money coming in from Sacramento has forced Dinuba's leaders to cut more than 300,000 dollars and implement furloughs, freeze salaries and even lay off some workers.

"For this organization it's about 23 - 24 positions that will remain vacant as long as they need to remain vacant to ride out the storm." City Manager Ed Todd said if the propositions don't pass, Dinuba will have to do with half-a-million dollars less in its budget; a lot of money for a little city.

The City of Reedley has already had to cut almost 10 percent of its budget. However they've done it with no layoffs and no cuts in salaries, but if the propositions don't pass on Tuesday, they're going to have to cut another quarter of a million dollars from their budget and positions may not be safe.

The Fresno County City of Reedley has managed to stay ahead of the state's budget axe while continuing to provide almost the same level of service. But city manager Rocky Rogers said they've maxed out the possibilities. "If the propositions don't pass, I don't think we're going to get the point of declaring a fiscal state of emergency, but I do think we're going to have to start looking at potential layoffs for part time employees."

Both Dinuba and Reedley city managers said they've been able to do just that, manage, but soon they may have to call on local residents to help keep city services rolling.

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