Cops, Firefighters on Chopping Block

A South Bay community may lose dozens of police officers and firefighters due to a budget crunch.

Chula Vista could lose up to 23 police officers and nine firefighters. The cuts to public safety departments will probably be necessary because public safety costs take a big portion of the city's $140 million annual budget, according to acting City Manager Scott Tulloch.

The budget gap could also prompt a reduction in hours and programs at Chula Vista's libraries. The city pool and gym at the recreation center on Fourth Avenue and Park Way are also slated for closure.

Chula Vista's budget director says the city has a $24 million budget shortfall for this year and next year. Ed Van Eenoo said "significant reductions in programs and services are anticipated" as the city council makes the cuts needed to balance its budget.  The budget director blames the shortfall on the nationwide housing slump, home foreclosures, and declining sales and property tax revenues.

Tax increases, could, of course, prevent the moves from taking place, but they would have to be approved by voters.

The city manager's office will outline the financial problem and possible solutions at two community meetings. The first is scheduled for Monday night at 6 pm at the Civic Center Library, at 365 F Street.  The second community meeting will be held Wednesday Dec. 3 at Eastlake library at 1120 Eastlake Parkway also at 6 p.m.  Residents are welcome to attend and share their reactions and possible solutions to the proposed budget cuts.

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