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HUNTINGTON BEACH | Community News Focus

3 Programs Immune to City Budget Cuts

June 13, 1996|DEBRA CANO

After a four-hour debate this week on how to deal with a $4-million operating budget deficit, the City Council declared that three programs will not be affected: drug education in schools, senior outreach services and Neighborhood Watch.

"It's a strong message to the public that the council has taken a stand," Mayor Dave Sullivan said Tuesday.

In recent weeks, the council has been deluged with pleas from supporters of the three programs not to eliminate them.

Sullivan said that declaring them safe was a move to ease community concerns. "There was this public agony," he said.

The council did not decide Monday night, though, which programs and services will be cut to offset a projected shortfall in the 1996-97 budget, set to be adopted in September.

Councilman Victor Leipzig, who with Councilwoman Shirley S. Dettloff spoke against the decision to leave the three programs unscathed, said the action interferes with the budgetary process.

Though he and Dettloff strongly support the programs, he said, "the problem was the timing. Unfortunately, the whole community needs to go through this process of reviewing potential and inevitable cuts in our budget."

Because the city's budget deficit is so great, he said, "we're not going to be able to massage our way out of this."

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