Fresno OKs balanced budget after facing $47mil deficit

Despite some concern over not putting more money into the already overfunded firefighter pension system, the city council wrapped up the relatively controversy-free process on Thursday.

The Fresno City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2025 budget on Thursday, totaling around $2 billion. 

After staring down a $47 million deficit, the city utilized one-time American Rescue Plan Act funding, attrition and cuts, among other strategies, to come to a balanced budget. 

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The big picture: The budget was passed with a 6-0 vote by the city council, with Councilman Miguel Arias absent. 

  • This is the fourth year in a row where the budget has been approved without objection. 

Driving the news: After Mayor Jerry Dyer presented his budget last month, the city council held its budget hearings throughout June and made 110 motions, making the budget $27 million out of balance. 

  • Dyer met with each councilmember individually and presented a balanced budget on Thursday with little controversy. 

Go deeper: There was some concern over a decision to redirect an annual $2.3 million contribution to the overfunded retirement system for the city’s firefighters and spend the funds on retaining staff on the fire department.

  • Fresno currently has funded its fire department pension fund at 116 percent, with $268 million in extra money. 
  • The city is not touching any of the money in the firefighter pension fund with this motion. 
  • The city moved in that direction because Dyer’s initial budget proposal included some cuts to public safety. The $2.3 million that will not be paid into the pension fund will keep those cuts at bay. 
  • City Manager Georgeanne White said the city is still contributing $36 million to the retirement fund in the budget.

Zoom in: Ultimately Dyer and the council agreed to fund nearly 80 of the motions made. 

  • That includes $1.5 million to the eviction protection program, $720,000 to the new wage theft prosecution team, $100,000 to the immigrant legal defense fund, $300,000 to the Marjaree Mason Center and millions of dollars in infrastructure funding. 
  • The city also allocated $75,000 to the LGBTQ Resource Center and another $75,000 in grants for LGBTQ nonprofits. 

What they’re saying: “Another unanimously approved budget is a testament to the collaborative effort between the Council and our Administration, and I’m incredibly grateful to each council member, each department director, and our entire staff for their tireless work,” Dyer said. “Despite fiscal challenges, this is a responsive and responsibly balanced budget. We have a bold vision, innovative strategies, and ambitious aspirations, and I believe Fresno’s future is bright.”

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