City of Brawley faces budget shortfall

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BRAWLEY — The Brawley city council discussed the city’s general fund during a workshop at the regular meeting April 4. According to officials, the city currently faces a $852,506 shortfall, which they claim is making it a challenge to maintain existing service levels.

During the workshop, the council discussed maintaining the general fund of $1 million, and options were given concerning balancing the budget.

According to officials, the city benefits from a gasoline tax, however, recent lower gas prices mean lower tax revenue for the city.

“I don’t think gas prices will being going down anytime soon,” said Mayor Sam Couchman. “Gas prices will be going up.”

“I think it would behoove us to go with what our current reality is today,” commented Council Member Donnie Wharton. “If gas goes up, great. That will be something down the road.”

In the workshop, it was revealed that future recruitment of city employees will be put on hold and the interim police chief position will continue for another year.

In addition, each city department will be asked to cut costs wherever possible.

“We have to look at some cost cutting measures,” said Wharton. “Even a one or two percent cost cut will help. I am expressing to see us work our tail off to get us closer to a balanced budget, even if it means we have to consider stopping a one-time project or a continuous project. We have to keep ourselves financially sound.”

“We will do everything we can to lean our departments. At the same time, we will do our best to maintain the highest level of services,” said Rosanna Bayon Moore, city manager.

The final budget for the city will be adopted in June.