Fresno City budget offers more funds for police and parks

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The Fresno City Council got their first chance to dig into the mayor's proposed budget and they seemed inclined to spend more than the $1 billion. (KFSN)

Plans for more cops and pleas for better parks were heard before the Fresno City Council Monday.

The Fresno City Council got their first chance to dig into the mayor's proposed budget and they seemed inclined to spend more than the $1 billion.

The Fresno's Police Department is in line for a $167 million and Police Chief Jerry Dyer is generally pleased.

"It does add 26 officers to our force," Dyer said. "And it does come with 80 police cars that are much needed."

But dyer is hoping for more.

He says hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed for helicopter maintenance and for 100 more body cameras for officers to wear.

There was also a call by Dee Barnes, a union representative for city employees, to restore the nearly 50 unarmed community service officers cut during the city's budget crisis.

"There's a lot more to public safety than just the number of guns that are out on the street," Barnes said.

The council listened to the city's parks director who asked for money to restore city playgrounds and repair swimming pools.

Park advocates are also pushing the city to boost the park budget by another $1 million.

"My concern is there's not enough money allocated to maintain and upgrade the parks," Kimberly McCoy with Communities for New California Education aid.

City Manager Bruce Rudd urged restraint.

He and the mayor are urging the city council to put at least 10 percent of the budget in the bank, to protect against future downturns.

"I understand everybody now wanting to build faster than we should," Rudd said. "But for those of use who went through the downturn there's another one coming and I don't believe this organization wants to go through another one like we did three or four years ago."
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