Cathedral City Issues Layoff Notices to Police, Fire
Cathedral City is giving layoff notices to police officers, firefighters and city employees. More than 60 positions are on the chopping block. Video by kmir6.comvideo
Cathedral City is giving layoff notices to police officers, firefighters and city employees.
More than 60 positions are on the chopping block.
It's a staggering amount of cuts for Cathedral City.
They aren't final yet, but the city has to give at least 30 days notice.
And so last week and this week, dozens of people are getting layoff notices.
The second largest city in the Coachella Valley is facing devastating cuts.
Nine officers will lose their jobs, leaving only one officer per 1,300 residents in Cathedral City.
"If these proposals go through, not only for our civilian personnel, but for our uniformed personnel, there's going to be a huge impact on our department and our ability to provide service to the city," said Lt. Charles Robinson with the Cathedral City Police Department.
Cathedral City needs to cut 8 million dollars from the budget.
"No one wants to make these cuts," said Cathedral City Communications Officer, Allen Howe.
But the city is being hit harder than others in the valley.
"As a post prop 13 city, we really rely on sales tax for example as a key portion of what brings in revenue to us," said Howe.
In 2010, voters passed a one percent sales tax hike in Cathedral City.
"It helped us until the state decided to eliminate redevelopment agencies," said Howe.
So now deep cuts, 34 jobs in the police department, 18 positions in city hall and 16 with the fire department.
Fire Chief Bill Soqui posted on his Facebook page that is was a somber day picking up layoff notices, and finding out his job will be cut as well.
Police are preparing for a decimated staff.
"The last two months or so, what we're going to look like in the worst case scenario, and that's what we've actually been planning for," said Lt. Robinson.
Though the layoff notices aren't final, its unlikely much will change.
"At this point those are the kinds of numbers that we'll have to see in order to bring our budget into line," said Howe.
Public safety makes up 80 percent of Cathedral City's budget.
"We could appreciate any support that our community can provide to us, understanding the situation the city is in, the situation the particular departments are in, and you know we're just going to move forward, we have no choice in the matter," said Lt. Robinson.
The city council will vote on this proposed budget at a special meeting 5PM, June 19th.