March 9th Citizens Advisory Committee

At the past two Citizens Advisory Committee meetings, the committee listened to both statistics and discussion on where to go next with their committee. 

These numbers, brought by Assistant City Manager Andy Haussler at the March 9th meeting, were mainly budgetary concerns from the city’s standpoint. Haussler included total payroll for the city, operating revenues such as sales tax and property tax, and places within the budget that they believe they can try to get the committee to find and ask for extra monies. 

Police Chief Curt Fleming, Haussler, and City Manager John Holt were able to speak in more of a discussion format. 

Haussler, acting as a moderator on the same information that he gave during the February 23rd meeting, asked questions to the committee. Holt was asked how he decided to allocate funds between police and fire and other departments within the city.

“It’s not fun…” said Holt adding that there is not enough revenue produced by the city in order to meet the demands of the needs of each of the departments. “…we never have enough money for what everybody wants.”

Holt did say that his office is currently going through each department and discussing budgetary concerns and asked these departments to put a baseline budget together through June 30th of this year, around the same time that the contract with the Police Department is set to retire. 

He then stated that he asks departments to develop an “ask” list in which departments ask for additional funds where Holt can go through and find which departments he can divide monies between in order to properly benefit the city. 

Holt finished with “even if we eliminated every single requirement [meaning other departments within the city] other than police and fire it would not be enough funding to fund what the Police Chief is asking for today.”

Haussler went on to explain that the city also has to account for growth as well as the Police Department. The city of Clovis has to plan for around 9000 rooftops and according to Haussler, a majority of the rooftops do not generate enough revenue to pay for the costs that it takes to keep them standing. 

He then went on to say that the state itself does not allow the city to limit residential growth, meaning the more houses that are built, the more it weighs the city down in terms of revenue. He also went on to state that housing has to be met with a plan to comply with state law. 

Chief Fleming took to the committee stating that compliance within the city is the main issue that has not been able to be addressed. This has been a question in the past few meetings, but Chief Fleming who cited the “broken window theory”, states that his officers don’t have enough time to enforce codes around the city. 

In his eyes, different codes are being broken affecting the quality of life. He illustrated that in the past when funding was up, Clovis PD was able to hand out “courtesy notices” allowing a 95% compliance rate according to his own notes.

It was around 2009 that the police force had eliminated the code enforcement division in their department. 

Chief Fleming maintains that the engaged community and a high-quality staff have been how Clovis has kept the city safe. However, he believes that “safe” is up to interpretation as he once again mentioned the CCI and the state’s definition of safe. 

The committee’s meeting ended with a discussion on their plans for the future of the committee and how they would like to move forward with their recommendation to the city council.

A survey was proposed and will be instituted at the next meeting on March 23rd. This survey will be conducted and discussed by the committee in which questions such as “Should there be more sworn officers in the Clovis PD?” and “If so, how will we pay for it?” will be addressed. 

Nonetheless, Haussler went on to perpetuate that any disagreements in the discussion they may have are what the committee has been prepared to address. Disputes that the committee has now will go on to help them find a solution for the future and the future of the City’s Police Department.

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.