Some Call Proposed Cathedral City Cuts a "Recipe for Disaster"
Cathedral City is looking at drastic cuts to their budget -- possible heavy layoffs in the police department that some say will make Cathedral City a less safe place to live.
Many city employees and residents say the proposed cuts are a recipe for disaster.
Cathedral City officials says the state is taking millions of dollars from them, and drastic cuts must be made.
14 officers could lose their jobs, leaving only 21 in the field patrolling Cathedral City.
Officers say that means you may have to wait longer if you dial 9-1-1.
"We pride ourselves on serving our community, getting out there, when you pick up 9-1-1 we try to get there as fast as possible, that may not be the case with a reduced number of officers, it's going to increase, there's no question about it," said Officer Mark Robles, the Cathedral City Police Officer's Association president.
Over 100 people packed into the council chambers, some residents angry about the proposed cuts and some employees begging the city to not cut their jobs.
Jose Leon has worked for Cathedral City public works for five years and supports a family of five. Now his job is on the chopping block.
"It's terrible because my family depends on my job, now they're trying to cut me off out of nowhere, my family needs the insurance, and money, my house payment, everything you know," said Leon.
Four different employee unions are now at the bargaining table with the city.
"Each of those groups have received some numbers showing what my recommendation would be as to cutbacks that would occur, we're working on working with each employee group to see what we can come up with either by way of what reductions in forces would be or concessions to salaries and benefits," said Don Bradley, the city manager for Cathedral City.
Bradley said it is too early to say what number of cuts they will need, but says the state's dissolving of redevelopment agencies put them in this position.
"The impacts from that in the general city fund is what we're really talking about tonight, so its a very serious matter because we stand to lose considerable dollars in the general fund that effects our ability to provide those basic services," said Bradley.
Basic services like police and fire stand to lose a lot.
"It's an officer safety issue, when we rely on our backup because of the calls for service, our back up may be caught up on other calls," said Officer Robles.
And many employees fear this is the end of their jobs.
"I hope everything gets fixed, don't lose their jobs you know, because everybody needs their jobs," said Leon.
The Cathedral City manager says they will continue to meet with employee unions and hold community meetings to address these possible cuts.