By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
“The reality of it is, we’re going to have to start looking at police and fire,” said Brian Donahue, council member.
In order to get a better idea of just how to approach this, City Manager Carol Jacobs said that the city was going to take a pro-bono offer from an independent source to do an analysis of the workload.
Jacobs said that she would rather that the city adopts a better budget with the ability to offer long-term solutions, rather than have to revisit it every 6 months.
Even with better solutions, the council discussed that it has come time to look at the costs of fire and police, which comprise over 70 percent and rising of the annual budget.
With the voting down of Measure J on June 5, which was intended to raise the utility user fees by 2.5 percent to pay for some of the fire and police services costs, the city has to look at what else can be cut in order to try and meet a balanced budget.
It leaves the two things that Stanton has been trying to keep in place as much as possible, contract police and fire services by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Fire Authority.
Police services have been cut a half million in budget by eliminating positions, using volunteers to run the station front desk and not filling empty positions.
At present, the city will be looking at a $3.3 million deficit for the upcoming budget.
“I think it bears speaking to the public that since 2008, we formerly had a budget of $21,500,000 to work with . . .we are now operating with $16 million,” said David Shawver, council member.
Shawver said people left on the city staff have had enough cut from them, have taken pay cuts, gotten no raises, no overtime pay, had their benefits taken and most are now doing the duties of at least three people.
“We have been paying fire and police every year. They have increased our costs every year and we said ‘Oh, Ok,’ and we write a check,” said Donahue, “We can no longer look at this and say that [it’s alright]. The only thing left is sheriff and fire . . .
we have to ask what can we live at and what can we afford?”