Nov 9, 2009 6:12 AM by John Romero
Many questions about the city of Colorado Springs future will be answered Monday when city council sits down for their first post-election meeting to discuss how to make up for a $30 million dollar budget shortfall. "I have some very some strong fears about what's going to happen to the city and what it's going to look like a year from now." says Councilman Bernie Herpin.
One of the first to feel the pinch will no doubt be public safety. "There will be some police officer cuts and fire cuts unfortunately. They're two thirds of our employees and we've just about gotten rid of everything else." explains Herpin. "I just think we need to change the way we do business in certain areas." says Councilman Darryl Glenn.
Glenn says part of that change could be in the form of over 20 days of furlough per city employee. While a touch choice, Glenn believes it may be the less of 2 evils. "I think 24 days of furlough is better of than an across the board salary cut." he explains. According to Glenn, 24 days of furlough for all civilian employees except emergency response techs and public safety dispatchers could save the city around $4,560,000.
Most likely the hardest hit will be public quality of life programs. Glenn wants to work with the county to find ways to share in the costs of keeping some landmarks such as the Pioneers Museum up and running. Herpin, says there's no way around it, residents need to be ready for losses. When asked if he's confident the city can come out of this still ahead, his reply came quick. "No. The city is not going to come out ahead. No matter what we do the city is going to see some drastic cuts in quality of life programs... Our community centers, pools, parks and rec, the transit system. Those are going to be hard hit no matter what we do." Herpin says.