EUREKA- The City of Eureka 2014/2015 budget was approved at a special meeting at city hall on Tuesday night.When council presented the updated proposed budget to city departments about two weeks ago, there was 10 percent less funding than the original proposed budget for each department, including to the Eureka Police Department and Humboldt Bay Fire. This is something community members who spoke at tonight’s meeting did not want to see.
"One of my concerns is traffic safety, and I want to make sure that we have funding for traffic officers out there. We're number one and two in the state for fatalities and collisions. So these are serious concerns and I think the council is beginning to understand how concerned the citizens are and that they are paying attention to this," said Kathy Srabian, a Eureka resident.
Last week, city staff began preparing options outlining ways to increase funding for the EPD and Humboldt Bay Fire. Tuesday night, council approved the budget, which includes using $300,000 from the general fund to restore high priority items in the police and fire budgets, including personnel, equipment, and training. The additional funding comes from projected increased revenue and cost savings, as well as increases to various city fees. City officials say when council heard how the proposed cuts would effect public safety, along with taking community input into consideration, council members made it a high priority to add more public safety funding in the budget.
"Hearing what both Chief Mills and Chief Woods were telling them, in a sense, when you start cutting back training in police and fire, that becomes a concern because you want your staff well trained. When we're delaying putting in the in car cameras, which becomes an officer safety issue, so I think those are things that definitely received attention from the city council that they wanted to address,” said Greg Sparks, the Eureka City Manager.