Big budget cuts in store for Sacramento

12:13 AM, May 4, 2011   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento city leaders will have to make some very difficult budget choices.

A proposed budget plan includes $39 million worth of cuts, which could put 366 positions on the chopping block.

"This budget is very painful," said Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell.

In the Parks and Recreation Department, all but three pools and all but three community centers could face closure, which could eliminate 22 positions.

In Sacramento's police department, 98 sworn officers could be cut, but a grant could save 35 of those officers.

"We have been cut to the bone," Sacramento Police Officers Association Mark Tyndale said. "There's just no more room for cuts in the department. They talk about cutting non sworn people-- dispatchers, crime scene officers-- and that's not acceptable."

The Sacramento City Fire Department could be forced to lay off 49 firefighters. The city could also increase the rotating fire department  brownouts from two to six.

The proposed cuts on the table are up for discussion and no doubt, a lot of debate.

Budget hearings begin May 12 with the Parks and Recreation Department.

Police department cuts will be addressed May 17.

Any layoffs will be identified by June 14.  City leaders make a final decision on June 21. Layoffs go into effect at the end of June. 

"I got nauseous up there thinking about the people potentially losing their jobs and us having to notify them by the end of the month," Mayor Kevin Johnson said. "These are very very difficult choices for us."

Can Sacramento balance it's budget and juggle plans for a new arena?

"We're going to have to find to balance our budget. We are going to have to make tough choices. But that doesn't mean that you don't look at other opportunities to stimulate economic development and growth opportunities in our community."

By Suzanne Phan,

Twitter: @suzannephan


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