Chico’s city manager laid out his proposed budget to the city council in a day-long work session on Tuesday – one that contains painful cuts to firefighters and law enforcement.
City officials spent all day on Tuesday working to figure out how to close the gap on a $4.8 million deficit. The plan includes cutting fire department appropriations by more than 6 percent and the police department by 4.5 percent.
Those two departments make up 80 percent of Chico’s $43 million annual budget.
The other departments will feel the cuts as well, but City Councilman Randall Stone said on Tuesday that the proposal was "the right thing to do".
"That's the big elephant in the room, the thing we just can't get away from. Every single year we are going to have $4.8 million. This is a structural deficit and we won't get out of that unless we take action,” said Stone.
Public Works employee James Irvin said eight employees are leaving his department, adding more stress as he and his employees pick up the slack.
"I could be out taking care of a pothole one day and a tree falls somewhere across town. We are not going to have a tree crew so that means we have to stop what we are going and go take care of that,” said Irvin.
City officials are predicting they will see a jump in sales tax next year, which is where the city gets most of its income. They also said the home values around Chico are expected to increase as well.