By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 05/24/16 – 6:23 PM PDT |

HIGHLAND >> The city has achieved much in the past year, Mayor Larry McCallon said at the State of the Community address on Tuesday, but fiscal uncertainties mean there are still some challenges ahead.

“As in the past I could say that the city of Highland continues to be in good shape and that would be true,” McCallon said Tuesday. “However, even though we are currently doing well, there are some dark clouds forming on the horizon that could change things.”

McCallon delivered his remarks at the Highland Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Community Luncheon at Immanuel Baptist Church.

One of the “dark clouds” McCallon mentioned is related to public safety costs. The city is one of 14 cities that contracts with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and ranks last in the number of deputies per capita, he said.

About $8.4 million of the city’s $14.8 million general fund budget is used for police protection, he added.

“With increasing cost of the sheriff’s contract each year,” he said, “the question is how will we find the funds for the additional deputies that are needed and still maintain a budget with no debt?”

The city’s fire and paramedic operations have weathered the economic downturn without a reduction in service, but Highland has had to tighten its belt, McCallon said.

“These costs will continue to stretch our budget and put us between the proverbial rock and a hard place of either having an unbalanced budget and potential debt,” he said, “or cutting services or having the citizens agree to provide the additional funds that are needed.”

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