Fresno budget causes controversy with FPOA

FRESNO, Calif.

Painful cuts were made to adopt the city of Fresno's 232-point-7 million dollar budget. But now the city is once again four million dollars short of its goal.

The budget approved by the Fresno City Council banked on assumptions. One million dollars could be raised by charging fees to private companies to pick up residents' garbage.

The city also assumed four million dollars in police union concessions. Now a bit of trash talk has developed between City Manager Mark Scott and Fresno Police Officers Association President Jacky Parks.

Scott said, "They had approved a concession that really is not a concession."

Parks commented, "That's disappointing to hear him refer to our concession as not a real option. That's very reckless."

FPOA members and management approved a proposal to offer the city 5-point-7 million dollars in cuts in exchange for a one-year contract extension.

"Regrettably our reaction is that it's not a concession. It's actually a bad loan and we wouldn't be interested in doing that," Scott said.

The FPOA contract expires in three years. Fresno City Mayor Ashley Swearengin says a contract extension would cost the city ten-million dollars.

"What they're saying is they're earmarking in 2015 that when our contract is open they want to renegotiate it and reduce the benefits and salary by 10 millions dollars," Parks said.

Scott says the city will now move forward with a four-million dollar hole in its budget.

Parks said, "There is no negotiations. The city has a problem. They asked us for help and we helped. It's their choice if they want to choose it."

Marks said, "It's disappointing that what was such an obvious concession situation didn't get treated like that."

Mark Scott says the city must come up with new ways to balance the budget. City services could see further cuts.

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