Fresno Mayor Swearengin to Announce Layoffs and Cuts

November 18, 2009 8:06:33 PM PST
Fresno's mayor is expected to announce a series of layoffs and cuts to solve a $28-million budget deficit. Taxpayers technically own the Fresno Met because the museum defaulted on a loan. The city is in financial trouble in part by guaranteeing loans on financially troubled projects like the Met. In light of the mayor's upcoming speech Thursday- one city council member offers a solution to prevent city hall from sinking in debt.

School children find fascination at Fresno's Metropolitan Museum. The theme for the new exhibit is Doctor Seuss. The story book characters also can be seen in the Christmas trees filling the main gallery. Tours still take place everyday- despite the Met defaulting on a $15-million loan that city hall backed. Museum leaders are trying to get out of financial ruin. John English is spokesperson for the Met. English said, "The economy is tough out there right now. We are really trying to put our best foot forward, to raise funds to continue to do what we do."

Wednesday morning, city council member Lee Brand unveiled a new debt management proposal. Of the many points, one would prohibit city hall from financing third party projects- like the Met Museum and Granite Park. Brand said, "Basically you have the choice, you pay as go. You find the cash source like a grant. Or, you do it parcels or you don't do it all. That's the type of limitations we are going to have."

The future of city hall is looking very bleak. Mayor Ashley Swearengin warned council members last month they face a $28-million budget deficit. Mayor Swearengin said on October 22, "Everything is on the table. We can't close this budget shortfall without considering every option." Swearengin said layoffs are coming to city hall. It's now a question of how many.

The mayor addresses the city council Thursday morning. Her office is not saying how the mayor plans to solve the budget deficit.


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