Fresno's Mayor loses garbage fight, vows major budget cuts

FRESNO, Calif.

"There will be some immediate cuts. We'll cut as deep as we can into any administrative functions."

She said the cuts would include her office. She is now anticipating laying off about sixty city employees. She claimed that number could have been reduced by selling off the commercial solid waste division, which she believes would have brought in $2.5 million a year in franchise fees.

Swearengin appeared by phone on KMJ Radio's Ray Appleton show, where she was asked about the defeat of the privatization measure.

"Mayor, how are you doing that seemed like a pretty big defeat for you?"Appleton asked.

She responded, "You know, I'm better today with a little bit of perspective from last night."

But, despite her perspective she said she still feels those who opposed her are wrong.

"I honestly cannot understand cannot relate to the mindset that they don't see the fact the same way I do." Swearengin said.

One of the council majorities who voted against the plan, Council Member Clint Olivier appeared in person on Appleton's show. He said, "First, let me say, I voted my conscience."

Olivier echoed council member Lee Brand, who supported the Mayor, when he announced after the vote that it was time to end the debate.

Olivier told us, "This is very difficult for a city to go through. I agree It has pitted one side against the other and it has really been an upheaval. So I agree with Lee Brand, it's time to move on, put this issue to rest."

Swearengin said she would start working on making cuts today. She will present her budget proposals to the City Council in the coming weeks. She said some likely targets will be the City Attorney's office, parks, street repair, and other administrative services.

The city's budget deficit is expected to go from $6 million this year, to from $15 to $20 million next year.

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