Wednesday Dec 24 2008
By: Don Chaddock/The Telegraph
Residents give leaders advice regarding budget problems
With Folsom facing an $8.4 million shortfall and El Dorado County looking to trim its own budget by laying off nearly 80 workers, residents are concerned about what programs still-to-come cuts might hit. Susie Graybill, an El Dorado Hills resident, believes programs for children and families should not be touched. “The (El Dorado Hills) library should not be cut,” she said. “They should keep the hours and not cut that back.” She also fears the El Dorado Hills Community Services District could be affected by the county’s cuts. “The CSD is fabulous,” she said. “The programs they offer (are beneficial) and it would be a shame for those to be cut.” While the state continues to grapple with its budget problems, Graybill believes schools are being put on a low priority list. “For me, the schools should be one district,” she said. “We have two districts that are small. Consolidation would save money.” Mike Hountalas, owner of The Purple Place restaurant and bar on Green Valley Road in El Dorado Hills, said the county should better coordinate of construction projects. “What we see sometimes is we’ll fail to finish a project before we start another one,” he said. He was also concerned about law enforcement and firefighters falling victim to the budget ax. “As a family man, I don’t want to see cuts in public safety,” he said. He believes county and city governments should take a cue from nonprofit groups. “They can go out and get donations for some of our programs,” he said. “That might be the wave of the future.” Elaine Huynh, who recently moved with her family to El Dorado Hills, said the library programs offered are some of the best in Northern California. “This is the best,” she said. “Why do they always cut what affects children?” She said the library and its services are important to her family. In Folsom, resident Don Reid said the city has some tough choices ahead. “I mean, (the city is) really trying to go back and try a zero-base budget,” he said. “I’m glad I’m not them. They’re going to have unhappy constituents no matter what they do.” Laura Miller, of Folsom, wants the city to find a way to salvage programs for kids. “I would like them to save all the sports and youth programs,” she said. When asked what programs or services she wanted the city to cut, she was stumped. “Anything they should cut? I’m not sure,” she said. Patti Eckhardt, of Folsom, believes safety should be a top priority for saving. “What should be saved is our police and fire services,” she said. Debbie Shafer, also of Folsom, had one suggestion for a program the city could live without. “The city Streetscape should be cut (even though) I know it comes from a different pot of money,” she said.