By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
The Stanton City Council Tuesday passed the city’s 2012-13 budget but did not yet make expected cuts to public safety. Without the cuts, the city will use $1.8 million in reserves to balance the budget.
“We’re losing $150,000 a day,” Shawver said. Stanton’s reserves will last until 2015 if more cuts aren’t made or revenues don’t increase.
The budget calls for $13 million for public safety costs. The city contracts with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for $8.5 million and spends another $4 million on its fire-service contract with the Orange County Fire Authority.
The city’s total budget is a little over $16.4 million. The rest of the money is mainly used to run federal and state-mandated programs, Shawver said, leaving just $1.4 million for city services.
City staff will recommend reductions to fire and police services at the council’s July 10 meeting in hopes of cutting up to $2 million from the budget, said Terri Marsh, finance director.
What the cuts will actually look like will be determined through negotiations with OCSD and OCFA staff respectively. An early proposal recommended a $1.4 million cut in police services and a $400,000 cut in fire costs.
The city could have maintained full services for an average cost of $6 per resident if Measure J had passed, according to Shawver. Stanton voters rejected the measure which would have raised utility taxes earlier this month. Shawver said he was also disappointed with the low voter turnout.
Since 2008 the city has made over $4 million in cuts, but so far none have been to public safety.
“We’ve been cutting for four years,” Shawver said. “We can’t cut anymore.”
Most recently the city cut its parks and recreation department, leading to the closure of Hollenbeck and Zuniga parks.
Residents near Hollenbeck Park have formed an advisory group and are looking for ways to keep that park open. Victor Borrego, a spokesperson for the group, asked the council to postpone any decision on closing the park.
“Hollenbeck Park will remain fenced off until the advisory group and city staff can determine when and how it can be reopened,” said Jim Box, assistant city manager.
Box then said he would call Borrego the next day to set up a meeting.