Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/30/2012 08:39:02 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – The cuts in a budget plan presented Wednesday night may have a staggering effect on the city, with some impacts coming in areas that can’t afford it, residents and employees said Thursday.

While many used similar words to describe their emotions – fear of the future, anger at city leaders, compassion for those affected – they gave conflicting answers on what should be done differently when the City Council reviews the plan again Tuesday.

The Police and Fire departments accounted for 72percent of the 2011-12 general fund spending and 69percent of the proposed 2012-13 spending, according to the so-called pre-pendency plan, which cuts $22.4million of the $45.8million deficit that led the city to file for bankruptcy protection on Aug. 1.

And those public safety expenditures were also first on the lips of many when they had digested the gist of the 93-page plan.

“I think the police are taking an exceptionally large hit,” said Barbara Babcock, a resident who has long been involved in city politics. “I was just literally shocked at the numbers we’re going to be losing, $6 million.”

Police Chief Robert Handy proposed eliminating 63 of 104 civilian positions and not replacing 18 sworn officers who said they would retire or find work elsewhere. That, Handy said, would force cutbacks to proactive policing and most calls other than high-priority emergencies.

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