The Fresno City Council voted Tuesday to approve its billion dollar budget, just in time for the July 1 deadline. However, it will have to be reconsidered in three months.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand proposed the council pass a continuing resolution that would keep city expenses at the same level as last year, at least for 90 days. But the city council still asked that certain community demands be honored.
“When the mayor came forward about a month ago with a doom and gloom budget, he also asked us to be a rubber stamp and the council said no,” said Council President Miguel Arias.
Throughout the budget hearings, councilmembers insisted on having park employees, not police, handle graffiti. Residents demanded the council allocate $300 thousand dollars for Advance Peace, a gun violence prevention program. Both resolutions passed, along with the continuing resolution.
However, the council is also hoping to use federal funds to balance its budget in three months.
“If our best hopes of using federal money don’t come to fruition, we will have to come back in a couple months and look at tapping the reserve, which is what it’s meant for, times like these,” said Arias.
If that’s the case, Arias said there may be layoffs or a revision of labor agreements. With a continuing resolution, the city has more time to assess the state of its revenues, and the real impact of COVID-19.
By the time the new budget is considered, the city’s new police reform commission will also have made its recommendations.