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Brawley adopts 2002-03 budget

June 03, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The City Council here has approved a $32.7 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 that is aimed at maintaining services.

The budget includes some increased spending and takes into consideration plans to increase recreational services by building a skate park and a teen center.

"Over all the budget is conservative to meet the needs of the public," said Brawley City Manager Jerry Santillan.

He added, "We are in the black and we are looking healthy."

Santillan said the budget does not include many changes from last year's budget, but has additional funding for the Police Department.


For the current year the department received $3.13 million; in the new year the police budget will increase to $3.4 million to include the filling of the police chief position — Henry Graham was recently named chief — and the addition of two dispatchers. In addition, the department will have some equipment upgrades in the coming year.

The Fire Department also will see an increase in its budget. The increase will total about $160,000. The money will cover half the cost of purchasing a fire truck and a command vehicle. In the fiscal year that will start July 1, 2003, the department will receive additional funds to complete the purchase of the truck. Santillan said the Fire Department's budget does not include money for additional positions.

The Parks and Recreation budget includes funding for the building of a skate park. That skate park is a key part of the city's effort to increase recreational services to youths, officials have said.

The city has set aside $390,000 for that project, including state grant funds, city development impact fees and city recreation funds. The skate park is to be built on land just west of the Lions Center gymnasium

The city in the next year will build a teen center within the Lions Center. That project is expected to cost about $800,000, with the majority of the project cost covered through grant funds. The city will provide about $175,000 of its funding for that project.

The teen center is meant to address the needs of a population typically underserved by city recreational services geared more toward a younger age group.

Santillan said the budget does not include rate increases. However, he said the city's wastewater plant is operating with a budget that has little room to do more than cover basic services.

"There is no cushion in the wastewater fund," he said, adding if the new calendar year in January brings new requirements for wastewater treatment, that could affect the city.

The new budget has been approved as the city is experiencing business growth with the opening of the beef plant and other developments that could come to fruition in the next year.

Santillan said the budget does not include any increased revenue through sales or property tax above the current year's budget, but he thinks there could be some increases. He said any increased revenue could be used to build the city's reserve.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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