$3.3 Million Deficit May Lead To Department Cutbacks For The City Of Gainesville
GAINESVILLE - Some city leaders say the public should have seen it coming-- the city of Gainesville faces a $3.3 million dollar deficit. The way they plan to fix it is to reduce spending. Gainesville's City Manager is considering cutting back from more than 20 departments.
A strategy has been developed to have a more balanced budget for the City of Gainesville. The problem? There's a 3.3 million dollar gap. Different departments are now being asked to take a look at their expenditures and scale back.
Setting forward the path for 2015 and 2016 may not be easy for Gainesville city leaders. "And you have to be honest with citizens and you have to be honest with your employees and you have to be honest with everybody about the situation we're in," Todd Chase Gainesville City Commissioner said.
The city has revealed a $3.3 dollar projected deficit for the 2015 fiscal year. A contributing factor to the deficit is the decision made to reduce $3 million in the transfer of Gainesville Regional Utilities revenues to the general fund.
"This year's city budget the impact of this is directly involved with the situation in GRU. This situation with the general fund transfer and the city commission's reliance on GRU to provide us the money to do things at the city that many of the residents don't feel are necessary," said Chase.
The city manager is asking more than 20 city departments to provide options for cutbacks.
Bob Woods the Communications Manager for the City of Gainesville said, "The larger departments that receive hard numbers should be noted that the percentage of their budget is actually less than many of the smaller departments... Even though the actual dollar amount may be large."
Gainesville Police Department was requested to submit a budget reduction of $1 million that actually totals to about 3% of their budget, where most other city departments hover around 6%. Woods said if major departments such as GPD or Gainesville Fire Rescue are exempt from reductions, other departments could be required to cut over 11%.
"I just want to re-emphasize that even though each department is being asked to submit a budget decrement, that does not mean that every budget decrement that is submitted by those departments will wind up in the city manager's recommended budget to the city commission," Woods said.
Chase says that for things to change, residents need to be more involved with local government.
"If people are upset by these issues or have strong opinions one way or another. They've got to let us know. Look out for the meetings that are coming and let us hear your voices."
If the projected deficit is not addressed during the 2015 fiscal year, it is expected to escalate.
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