City of Walla Walla to slash budget

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WALLA WALLA - Crime prevention programs, the aviary and library hours are expected to be major issues at this week's 2011-2012 budget meetings.

City officials are project a $1.3 million shortfall that will "impact the delivery of municipal services; reduce or eliminate programs; and require staff layoffs."

Fire, police and parks departments expect cuts of four to eight percent for the next two years. The library could face a cut of more than 20 percent, but a large portion of that is due to unresolved reimbursement negotiations with the Walla Walla County Rural Library District.

At Wednesday's Council meeting, supporters of the Police Department's Crime Watch spoke against cuts.

The parks department is looking at cutting $207,000 from its $2.4 million budget, or roughly eight percent. Dumont proposes cutting two full-time positions and closing the aviary.

"We went through every one of our services ... took it to our board and had our board prioritize it ... it ended with the aviary being the last priority," he said.

The first budget meeting will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at Fire Station No. Two, 170 N. Wilbur Ave. The second meeting will be 7 p.m. Thursday at The Center at the Park, 720 Sprague St.

Public testimony will be heard at both meetings.

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