Colton’s proposed cuts to affect force
Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/21/2010 09:08:53 PM PST
COLTON – The battle over how to cover the city’s impending budget deficit is spreading, with police associations statewide fighting against planned cuts to the Colton Police Department and some residents urging the city to do what it takes to keep taxes manageable.
A budget approved by the council in June states 16 police, nine firefighters and eight employees from other departments would be laid off if employees don’t accept any concessions to fill the hole left by the loss of a utility users tax that had generated about 16 percent of the city’s revenue.
The problems sounded familiar, Edwin Siercke of Maywood said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The former officer with Maywood’s Police Department warned Colton against trying to solve them the way his city had: firing all police and contracting with the county sheriff’s department instead.
“During those five years I served, I made a lot of connections with the community,” Siercke said, tearing up. “To date, they still wish they had their police. … I hope no other city loses its identity as Maywood did, but I see Colton leaning that direction.”
Maywood outsourced all of its city services in July, after its insurer refused to provide liability or worker’s compensation insurance.
Much of the crowd applauded Siercke’s remarks and those of Colton residents who said laying off police officers would decrease safety and the sense of community.
But a significant portion also clapped when residents said the tax was an unfair burden and that the police and fire cuts may be necessary.
“I have no animosity toward our police and fire department,” said Colton businessman Gary Grossich. “But people need to understand that we don’t have the money.”
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