“FACTS AND FARCE” BRING A FULL HOUSE TO A MORONGO VALLEY CSD BUDGET MEETING

“FACTS AND FARCE” BRING A FULL HOUSE TO A MORONGO VALLEY CSD BUDGET MEETING

In a demonstration of community interest rarely seen at a budget planning workshop, nearly 50 residents turned up at last night’s budget workshop at the Morongo Valley Community Services District. Assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz has this report …
Empowered by last week’s defeat of the proposed Fire Tax, and hopped up on a mix of facts and farce from Facebook, newly awakened public interest played out at last night’s Morongo Valley Community Services District Budget Workshop. General Manager Donna Munoz and Fire Chief Jock Johnson walked the room through the proposed budget line by line amid a barrage of questions, some relevant, but many logical only to those attending their first CSD meeting or who rely on social media for talking points. Still, every inquiry was met with a respectful reply. By the end of the marathon meeting, it was apparent the general manager and fire chief had worked over the figures a dollar at a time and eliminating every fire department engineer in order to propose a balanced budget. “To make the budget work,” said Chief Johnson, “I have to do what I have to do, but I don’t think it is safe.”
General manager Donna Munoz said the option of eliminating the classification of fire engineers was rejected by the board, as was the option of closing Covington Park. However, one cost-saving measure that may get the go-ahead is turning off street lights that are not on the highway. Munoz added that the district’s largest expense is salaries, and so the district will be renegotiating with staff. She also said a group of residents has formed a Solutions Committee to work on options for raising funds. A public hearing on the budget will be held next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Covington Park’s multi-purpose room.

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