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OXNARD : Council Seeks Ways to Reduce Deficit

Faced with a projected deficit of about $4.8 million over the next two years, the Oxnard City Council will meet this morning to discuss reassigning staff and cutting services to balance the budget.

City officials blame the shortfall on several unforeseen revenue cuts and increased expenses, including the county’s decision to divert fines from convicted drunk drivers away from cities and to charge cities a fee for booking criminals into the County Jail.

For two years, the financially beleaguered city has avoided deficits by spending emergency reserve funds and one-time-only revenue windfalls.

Last month, the council adopted a cost-cutting plan that included a hiring freeze on all city positions. The council also decided not to build any new parks until the council can find a way to finance their maintenance.

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City officials say the greatest shortfalls are projected in the city’s general fund budget, which is used to pay the salaries of most of the city’s 1,000 employees.

At today’s meeting, the council will consider reassigning some employees to positions that can be funded under other budgets, such as the city redevelopment department budget.

At a 7:30 p.m. meeting tonight in the council chambers, the council will discuss an audit that suggested the city could eliminate 103 city positions, including 30 in the Police Department and seven in the Fire Department, and still improve city services.


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