published on May 24, 2016 - 8:04 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin on Tuesday unveiled the city’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget, a $1.1 billion spending plan that puts an emphasis on public safety and long-term financial stability.

Swearengin’s final budget as Fresno mayor, introduced at city hall outside the entrance to the city council chamber, the plan seeks to add 26 new sworn police officer positions as well as 12 new firefighters.

Funding for the additional City spending will come from a “healthy” increase in sales and property tax revenues, according to the Fresno mayor.

“My administration is committed to restoring the city’s financial health,” Swearengin said, noting that she presented her first budget in May 2009.

“The city made it through those treacherous days,” Swearengin said. “This is my final budget and I wanted it to maintain the momentum we’ve worked hard to build.”

“This budget is structurally balanced and adds to our emergency reserve while increasing funding for police, fire, parks, code enforcement and street repair,” the mayor added.

With the addition of the new officers, which he said would be in place by January 2017, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer promised “an increased presence of uniformed officers” on the city’s streets.

“This is a healthy budget for public safety,” said Dyer, who joined the mayor and more than a dozen other city department heads during the budget unveiling.

Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis praised Swearengin for “walking her talk” in her efforts to beef up the city’s public safety departments.

City Manager Bruce Rudd, who also spoke briefly at the unveiling ceremony, said the city “has paid off a lot of negative balances and righted the ship.” He added that the FY2017 proposed budget would make Fresno “safer, cleaner and stronger.”

Rudd also praised Swearengin for her “vision, hard work and leadership.”

“The hard decisions of the last eight years are paying off, and the City of Fresno has emerged as financially stable and vibrant,” Swearengin said.

Noting that the cover of this year’s budget featured an impressive aerial drone photo of Downtown Fresno from Chukchansi Park north across the entire Blackstone Corridor, Swearengin said, “We’ve got an exciting future ahead of us.”

The Fresno mayor will present the proposed budget to the city council on June 2. Under the city’s charter, the budget must be adopted by June 30.

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