Lee Brand file photo
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand has made good on his promise to exercise a line-item veto for the fiscal year 2020 budget.
Among the items on the chopping block include funding for a group advising the council on immigration issues and another that would award stipends to gang members as part of a program to curb gun violence.
“Just like any family does when they are faced with difficult decisions on where to spend their limited budget, the City of Fresno has to do the same,” Brand said in a statement. “In the end, we funded as many priorities as we had available money to fund. We will continue these discussions and reevaluate if and when we have additional money available to spend.”
Among the more controversial items Brand is excising with his veto pen include one-time funding of $300,000 for the Immigration Affairs Committee and $200,000 for the Advance Peace program.
Formed in May, the Immigration Affairs Committee includes members nominated by each council member, as well as the mayor’s office.
The Advance Peace program would mentor gang members designated most likely to commit gun crimes. Successful participation in the program would eventually lead to a stipend for participants in the program.
In an effort to balance the budget, Brand said he also eliminated nearly $350,000 that would fund five community service officers for the Fresno Police Department as well as $250,000 for salaries in the Neighborhood Service Department, which is under the direction of the city attorney.
The deadline to approve the $1.18 billion budget is 5 p.m. today, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.