New budget proposed by Fresno mayor will add more firefighters and police officers

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Ashley Swearengin announced the more than $1-billion budget plan Tuesday. (KFSN)

More police and firefighters will be on the job under the new budget proposed by Fresno's mayor. Ashley Swearengin announced the more than $1-billion budget plan Tuesday.

It's the last budget mayor Swearengin will be presenting to the City Council since her eight years as mayor. During those years the city emerged from recession, and Swearengin believes the city is on firmer financial ground, able to add back personnel and services.

Swearengin said her $1.1 billion budget proposal shows a city on the mend from the great recession.

"I am very pleased to say today, we have made it through those very treacherous days."

One key sign of improvement is the ability to add nearly $8 million to the police department.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "We are now well on the road to recovery in terms of hiring officers, adding 26 more in this budget, in addition to what we were able to hire last year, will bring us to 801 positions."

The Fire department would see a $5 million boost to hire more personnel.

"I couldn't be more pleased. We are moving from a low point of 63 firefighters on duty each day to 77, and we are well on our way to the rebuilding of this fire department," said Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis.

A key complaint about the city has been the lack of code enforcement officers. Staffing was cut in half five years ago, six officers are added back in this budget along with four attorneys to go after slumlords.

"You will see significant changes, not just with the addition of code enforcement, but the manner in which we go after property owners who's practices not only violate health and safety codes, they may also be borderline criminal," said Bruce Rudd, City Manager.

Under the Mayors proposal, spending on Parks will go up by more than $5 million.

Bus service would be improved and hours extended 11:30 every night.

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