Special Election South Valley Impact

May 20, 2009 10:07:15 PM PDT
More layoffs and cuts to programs are expected in the South Valley as a result of propositions one-"a" through "e" not passing.The city of Visalia is preparing to lend the state two million dollars now that the propositions have been defeated. County and city leaders here say they are preparing to cut services and programs in nearly every single department.

Visalia city leaders say for the past three years they've frozen vacant positions and forfeited pay raises in an effort to try and prevent layoffs. Now, with the state propositions failing, the city may force employees to take more time off.

Visalia City Manager Steve Solomon said, "We have talked about furlough program and the departments are working on that if we implement it it will occur starting in July."

The city council also told City Manager Steve Solomon to develop a layoff policy. City leaders are struggling with the loss of $2-million dollar. The state is expected to borrow the money to make up for it's multi-billion dollar budget deficit.

"The numbers are large enough that you have to look everywhere and you have to look at as many things as you can," said Solomon.

Tulare city leaders are looking at a $900-thousand dollar loss. Financial advisors are considering reducing maintenance of city parks and completely eliminating a popular summer program.

Margee Fallert said, "We had to cancel all our aquatics program and so that is all for our open swim time and swim lessons for the summer."

Fallert says shutting down the public pools during the summer will save them $70-thousand dollars. Fallert says they're also considering laying off up to sixteen people. Tulare County officials also say layoffs are coming.

Gene Rousseau said, "On June 2nd we're going to be bringing forward an agenda item that will reduce a number of janitors we currently use."

Rousseau says the state will be borrowing $8.4 million from the county. County leaders are planning to borrow the money to make up for the loss.

The county is also grappling with the likely cut of the Williamson Act, a property tax incentive for farmers. That cut would cost the county more than $3 million each year for the next nine years.

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