Measure G's apparent failure has city looking for cuts

FRESNO, California

Swearengin said, "Seeing the "Yes on G" side going below 50% on Friday sent us into a Plan B mode."

Plan B does without the money the mayor had hoped Measure G would bring in by franchising the city's garbage service to a private company.

There are two main alternatives within Plan B, eliminated 49 city positions or decide not to replace 25 police officers who quit or retire over the next two years. Each option would save about t $2 million.

"It's not my preference to have to do the layoffs we talked about its not my preference to ask the council to attrit more police officers but, if that's where we find ourselves we have to make the best decision possible and keep moving forward." Swearengin said.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he can't afford to lose any more cops. There is another alternative, if the city and the Fresno Police Officers Association can agree to contract concessions.

"If we were to reach agreement it could avoid layoffs," said Swearengin.

The police union has offered $9 million in concessions over three years, but the Mayor says their proposal would cost more in the long run. Dyer is skeptical a deal with the union can be made.

"It is our hope there is some kind of agreement can be reached that can be beneficial to the city and the FPOA members," said Dyer. "I am not as optimistic simply because of the discussions that have occurred."

FPOA President Jacky Parks told Action News the union concessions could avoid any city layoffs. The City Council will consider the FPOA's plan, and a counter proposal from the Mayor during a closed session on Thursday.

The budget picture is far from clear. Mayor Swearengin had said the city expected a budget deficit of up to $6 million without Measure G money. But now, with the discovery of some additional funding sources the Mayor projected the deficit at only $2.8 million.

In addition to the potential for layoffs, or reductions in the police force, the Mayor is once again pushing for cuts to the Senior Hot Meals program. She wants to close three of the five locations that provide meals to senior citizens to save money.

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