Published: 20 June 2012 06:25 PM

After restoring a few items to Redlands’ general fund for the next fiscal year — including money for fee waivers for groups holding events in town — the City Council approved the $53.7 million spending plan.

The council added about $226,000 to the budget presented to them by City Manager N. Enrique Martinez. Councilmen Jerry Bean and Bob Gardner, who made up the council’s budget committee, said they wanted to add $95,000 to complete a revision of the housing element of the city’s general plan.

Councilman Jon Harrison supported them, saying he would forego items he had intended to ask for because they were less crucial.

“I think the housing element is particularly important because many of the state funding programs — if you don’t have an up-to-date element you aren’t qualified to participate,” Harrison said during the meeting on Tuesday, June 19.

The council also added $26,000 so the city can rejoin the state and national League of Cities organizations, and $25,000 to the tree trimming budget.

Councilman Paul Foster objected to the elimination of fee waiver funds, which support groups conducting events in town, like the Redlands Bicycle Classic, Run Through Redlands and the Fourth of July celebration.

He asked that the cut be delayed until he had time to speak with community group members and determine how many could afford to hold their events if they had to pay for such city services as staffing street closures and collecting trash.

“I think they have a right to weigh in,” Foster said. “Every time they have an event they bring people to our town — it’s part of the DNA makeup of Redlands that we have these events.”

Martinez agreed that the events add vibrancy but added that he was dealing with a very tight budget.

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