Council to review plan at its meeting tonight
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/27/2011 05:19:01 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The City Council will get budget presentations from the leaders of city departments this evening as the council prepares to adopt a 2011-12 budget.

Tonight’s budget workshop, which will be held from 5 to 8p.m. in the Council Chambers, could be followed by another workshop Wednesday if a budget isn’t finalized.

The proposed budget is 5percent smaller than last year’s and city leaders say they are expecting departments to cope with smaller budgets.

“We’re going to have to do more with less and that’s going to be challenging,” said Councilwoman Virginia Marquez. “But we’ll get through it. It’s going to be finding a balance to ensure that we continue with the basic, essential services we are entitled to have as residents of the city.”

The proposed 2011-12 budget calls for spending a total of $259 million, down from $273 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year. The proposed budget continues a set of budget cuts and concessions put in place in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Councilman Rikke Van Johnson said the budget is a continuation and update of the previous budget. He said things have improved slightly in the city’s financial outlook since this time last year.

“When we gave our budget expectations last year, it was even more stark,” he said. “We’ve seen improvement.”

Indeed, the city saw an increase in sales tax revenue over the past year. But a consultant told the council last week that the city still has significant financial challenges.

Councilwoman Wendy McCammack said she hopes the budget will cut more “nonessentials” – she noted a new city call center as an example – and bring back more city staff.

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