Lynchburg officials sharpening budget ax for services, staffing cuts

Budget cuts could affect services like public safety

LYNCHBURG,Va. – Lynchburg's City Manager Bonnie Svrcek is putting together the city's budget for next year. 

"Do they want to reduce their services? No. I don't either," Svrcek said.

Svrcek has a $184 million budget to work with. She's asked all city departments to submit requests that are 2 percent less than their current budget. 

"Our revenues are flat or in some cases slightly declining. So I needed a menu of items to think about as I begin to put together my proposed budget," Svrcek said.

The big-ticket items are seven police officer positions, eight firefighters, a majority of Animal Control and all funding for city-sponsored events. Police Chief Raul Diaz says losing the Community Action Team is his only option. 

"The reason for that is, the CAT team, while it is the tip of the spear and it is deeply in community building throughout our community, it's not a calls for-service unit," Diaz said.

Right now, these are only submissions and nothing is final. Come March 13, Svrcek will have to propose her final budget to City Council. 

"These are the things that are real in the services we deliver to our citizens, and there will be consequences if I choose to take all or part of either eliminating recycling sites or eliminating the Community Action Team. Something has to give," Svrcek said.

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