Stockton's Chief Financial Officer Susan Meyer says the city's projected revenue for the upcoming fiscal year is $162 million. But she says expenditures to cover services like police and fire are expected to be $196 million.
"This is a $34 million deficit, or 17% of operations. This is a very steep hill to climb."
Stockton is just beginning to look at how to fill the deficit. Department heads were asked to come up with plans for staffing cuts. Police Chief Blair Ulring's task was to cut $13 million. He told a city council budget workshop that would drop the number of people in his department to 1990 staffing levels.
"What this means to the citizens: longer wait times for 911 calls, a dramatic decrease in the number of robbery, sexual assaults and burglaries that our detectives are going to be able to follow up on ."
City leaders say they can reduce service cuts if the labor unions representing city employees agree to pay and benefit concessions.
Starting next month, the city will hold town hall meetings on the budget.