Layoffs Looming After Fresno Voters Reject Measure G

Voters have spoken and there answer is "no" on Measure G.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin's plan to outsource trash services has failed.

Only about 800 votes separate the two sides.

With "No on Measure G" taking the lead with 29,701 votes.{} "Yes on Measure G" garnered 28,900 votes.

Now the budget ax comes out and jobs are on the chopping block.

Mayor Swearengin presented two grim options: {}Cut the police force or lay off more than 40 civilian workers.

Without the signing bonus and revenues from privatizing trash services, the mayor must find a way to close a budget shortfall of nearly $1.7 million.

One option she presented is to reduce the police force by 25 officers - through attrition and not layoffs.

That would save the city nearly $2 million.

The city would start hiring officers again in a couple years.

The second option is to cut 49 civilian positions across a dozen departments, including fire, parks and recreation.

This option could also mean parts of the city could become dirty and blighted because a code enforcement team would be cut, some seniors won't get a hot meal every day because three sites won't serve them anymore and Fresno firefighters may not get all the training they need.

While the plan does not call for laying off firefighters, the fire chief says cuts to the training program would hurt.

"I come from the Washington, D.C. area where there's a lot of military talk, and they say for every soldier on the ground there's 6-7 people behind the scenes supporting the soldier. Well it's no difference in fire service, we have people out in the front lines, you have to have the support mechanism, people conducting the training," said Fresno City Fire Chief Rob Brown.

Most fire departments the size of Fresno have a dozen people in training, Fresno has three people and that could be cut to two.

Last week, firefighters sent out a mayday call after one of them was hurt on the job, now Fresno's mayor is sending out her own 'mayday call' of sorts, as the city teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

"We do find ourselves on the edge of fiscal solvency.{} We're right on the edge and being very careful we don't go over," said Fresno City Manager Mark Scott.

The mayor does not want to make cuts to the police department, and is recommending the city go forward with eliminating 49 civilian positions.

It's now up to city council members to make the decision.

They have until the end of June to decide.