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Proposed budget retains quality of life ingredients

By: Kerry Miller, Folsom City Mangaer
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Folsom residents share a high degree of pride in our outstanding quality of life. We live in a wonderful community with incomparable natural amenities and abundant services unknown in most other cities of similar size. While we are facing serious fiscal challenges due to this unprecedented global economic crisis, I want to reassure our residents that the quality of life we all value so highly will not as a whole be significantly impacted by the budget proposal submitted to the City Council earlier this month. First and foremost, residents will see no interruption of essential city services. Police officers will patrol our streets to ensure our safety. Firefighters will respond to calls for fire and medical emergencies. Trash, green waste and recycling containers will be collected as scheduled. Park lawns will be mowed and maintained. Our roads will be paved and potholes will be filled. Toilets will flush and clean water will flow from our taps. There will, however, be changes in some of the non-essential services we provide. That is inevitable given the fact that we face an $8.6 million deficit this fiscal year, largely due to a dramatic drop in sales tax revenues. To deal with that shortfall, and the likelihood that the economy will not improve in the coming year, we proposed that the City Council replace our current budget with an18-month spending plan that would guide us through the coming months and the 2009-10 fiscal year. News media accounts have focused on proposed service reductions relating to the new budget. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the wide array of programs and services that our residents will continue to enjoy in the coming year. Recreational opportunities will be plentiful. Our beautiful parks and seemingly endless miles of recreational trails will be open for the enjoyment of all. The Senior and Arts Center will offer a variety of classes and programs, as well as highly acclaimed gallery showings. Popular annual events, including the Eggstravaganza, Run with Nature, Cyclebration and Renaissance Faire will continue. Residents of all ages will cool off and exercise at the Aquatic Center during the warmest months of the year. Animals at the Zoo Sanctuary will receive high quality care and will entertain and amuse visitors. Youngsters will participate in city sponsored sports classes and activities at the Folsom Sports Complex, local fields and facilities. Volunteers will continue to run youth sports programs such as Folsom American Little League, Folsom Soccer Club, Folsom Youth Basketball Association, Girls Softball Association and the junior football and cheer programs. Adults will participate in indoor and outdoor soccer, basketball, softball, flag football and volleyball leagues. Library patrons will have access to library services seven days a week. The state-of-the-art Georgia Murray Building will be open every day except Monday. The Norman R. Siefkin Public Library at Vista del Lago High School will be open for students and the community Monday through Thursday. Popular story times and other children”s programs will continue at both facilities. Thank you for your patience and your understanding of the fiscal realities we face during these difficult economic times. I truly believe that our proposed fiscal year 2009-10 budget will allow us to continue to enjoy the high quality of life that has been validated by national publications and enjoyed by all.