Should the city support arts and culture? Or the police department? Does it have to be either or?
Not according to Walnut Creek Police Chief Joel Bryden.
He acknowledges that yes, the department could always use more money and more officers. Any police department could. But he said he and the police department participated in discussions that took place with regard to the budget, and the department came up with its own list of programs that could be restructured or frozen positions that would not be filled. He added what City Manager Gary Pokorny emphasized last week: none of the 33 possible layoffs taking place in other city departments would affect the police department.
Here are some more specifics of what budget documents say about spending on police, as well as on and arts, recreation and community programs and on other departments.
–The police department budget could be cut by 2 percent in the coming fiscal year, public services by 2 percent, and arts, recreation and community services by 6 percent. The biggest hit—of 24 percent—is to general government. In 2011-12, expenditures for police and public services could increase slightly, funding for arts and recreation will go down 2 percent. Again, the biggest hit (47 percent) would be to general government.
–In terms of which department in Walnut Creek will likely get the biggest piece of the budget pie in 2010-12, that would be the police department: 35 percent. Arts, Recreation and Community Services would get 20 percent.