Clovis Makes Deep Budget Cuts

June 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Clovis is making some tough cuts as city leaders try to balance next year's budget.Clovis council members say the budget decisions they made last night were painful and difficult. The biggest blow is to police and fire fighters and ultimately the Clovis community.

City council members unanimously approved the budget late Monday night. They had to slash $5.3 million dollars from its general fund budget which includes public safety.

The fire department will lose 3 firefighters and 1 staff member and will have to close the downtown fire station which just opened last year. 19 police officer positions were also cut.

Clovis was able avoid many more layoffs because of retirement incentives and vacancies.

The city is also reducing hours at its senior center, and closing the Clovis Recreation Center. "There were some really hard choices. Some of the assets that have made Clovis a great city like a recreation program and a vibrant senior center, those are just not options in today's economy," said Lynn Ashbeck with the Clovis City Council.

The Clovis Police Activities League program has also been suspended. The city said it will work with nonprofit groups and volunteers to keep as many recreation programs as possible.

The Clovis City Council also approved major cuts to its public transit system.

The weekend Stageline bus service will be suspended to offset funding losses through "Measure C" and the gas tax. A fare increase of 25-cents will also go into effect in August.

The General Services manager said the Fresno FAX route on Shaw Avenue will continue on the weekends.

The city council also voted to eliminate the taxi voucher service, which provides transportation for passengers in wheelchairs.

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