Fresno approves $1.87bil budget, largest in city history

Public safety made gains in the budget, yet infrastructure costs still hang over the future of the city.

The Fresno City Council unanimously passed a balanced budget Thursday, approving the largest in city history at $1.87 billion. 

While the budget pushes the police department and fire department to record levels, Fresno’s infrastructure needs have piled up to need its own funding source in the future. 


The big picture: The city’s general fund for the 2023-2024 fiscal year comes in at $461.5 million, and the reserve is fully funded at 10 percent, which will be $46 million by this time next year. 

  • The number of police officers and firefighters will increase to 900 and 375, respectively – both the most the city has ever had. 
  • With the police department taking up $244.9 million of the general fund and the fire department having $85.6 million in general fund dollars, the two departments combine for over 70 percent of the general fund. 

Driving the news: Last week the city council passed over 130 budget motions, which added $157 million to the budget. 

  • Council President Tyler Maxwell, Council Vice President Annalisa Perea and Councilman Mike Karbassi – who make up the budget committee – met with Mayor Jerry Dyer and his administration to reconcile the budget and gain unanimous support from the council. 
  • In all, the budget funded 78 of the proposed motions totalling $30 million, which include various projects and proposals such as project spotlight, the neighborhood watch program, street repaving and other infrastructure work, a pickleball court in northeast Fresno, and LGBTQ Liaison position, the LGBTQ center and grants for local LGBTQ center and nonprofits. 

What we’re watching: Since the city is operating at a deficit in the Department of Public Utilities, rate hikes will be on the horizon for next year. 

  • Dyer said the budget has built in a rate increase to start in January, but the city has not settled on a number and will conduct community outreach before reaching an agreement with the council. 
  • Dyer also said the city is $1.2 billion behind in its infrastructure needs, adding that the city needs a dedicated funding source to tackle that problem in the future. 

What they’re saying: “This is an unprecedented budget,” Maxwell said. “It’s the largest here in the City of Fresno’s history – $1.87 billion, and I can guarantee you that the people and families of Fresno are going to notice a big difference when it comes to the quality of life over the next year. I truly believe that this is a budget that serves the people of Fresno.” 

  • Speaking to the utility rate hikes coming next year, Dyer said, “We’re being very very thoughtful in terms of how we proceed because we know there are people out there that are going to be financially impacted by it.”
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