Chula Vista may have to lay off police officers - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Chula Vista may have to lay off police officers

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By News 8 Reporter Jeff Zevely

CHULA VISTA (CBS 8) When it comes to fighting violent crime, Chula Vista is one of the safest cities in California. But when resident Robert Lister heard about the possibility of laying off dozens of police officers he said, "That's insane. We need all of the police officers we can have here. It's a busy city."

Chula Vista is the second biggest city in the county behind San Diego. Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano says four years of budget cuts have already depleted his department.

"We are one of the lowest staffed departments in the county right now," Bejarano said.

In order to tackle a 12.5 million dollar budget gap next year, Chula Vista may have to lay off 33 officers, which would save $4 million a year. On the November ballot, many city officials are supporting the Proposition H "Utility Users Tax" which would add a five percent tax to some phone bills and generate $6 million a year.

"This is nothing but scare tactics," Chula Vista Civic Association President Ed Herrera said.

Herrera says residents should vote no on Prop H. He says instead of raising taxes the city needs financial reform. City leaders will try to come up with some of the financial shortfall
by renegotiating with union leaders. 

Layoffs could begin in January 2011.




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