Parlier Police Department faces layoffs

March 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A major budget deficit in the city of Parlier could soon lead to some serious cuts.

Wednesday night, city council leaders will vote on whether to layoff a number of police officers to balance the budget.

The Parlier Police Department may soon have a smaller staff.

Parlier Police Chief David Cerda said, "It's one of the toughest things I have had to do as the chief. With the small department and small town atmosphere so we are like a family unit here."

Chief David Cerda is bracing himself for a city council vote on Wednesday night. That's when council members will tackle Parlier's $800 thousand budget deficit.

Their goal is to balance the gap by about $500 thousand. City leaders plan to do so by voting to cut one to four police officer positions, and slimming down other departments.

Parlier Mayor Armando Lopez said, "We feel terrible about it but our backs are up against the wall we have to make a decision that's the best for the community as whole."

Mayor Armando Lopez wants the council to back the layoffs to avoid declaring bankruptcy in the future. He believes the area took a huge hit in the economic downturn.

"Sales taxes are less than projected, the devaluation of homes because of the housing market hitting bottom, that also affected our property tax so we received less revenue from those."

14 full time officers currently work for the department. And about 30 percent may soon be laid off as the crime rate goes up.

"The gang problem has increased, we have seen a spike in the last five years with the nortenos, some sorenos, bulldog gang members as well."

City Manager Lou Martinez says the layoffs won't affect public safety.

Martinez said, "We think we are going to make this happen more efficiently make the staff that are remaining more efficient in what we do, the services won't be translated to the residents."

He and other city workers are applying for grants - and say once the economy improves they may even rehire some city workers.


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