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Lompoc residents can try to solve city budget problems through online tool

Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 23:46:14-05

The City of Lompoc wants your help to avoid a financial crisis. City managers are dealing with a $4 million deficit over the next two years.

“We’re in a challenging position here. Like a number of different cities, we had our retirement costs increase substantially outside of our control,” said Jim Throop, Lompoc City Manager.

Lompoc is currently down about 30 positions. One of the departments hit hard by low staffing is the police department.

To fill those positions, the city’s $4 million deficit would increase to about $7 million, Throop says.

As Lompoc continues to grow, it’s residents have their own ideas about how to make their city a better place to live.

“The homeless need shelter, they need food, they need clothes,” said Loretta Feller, Lompoc resident.

“I think the infrastructure is pretty crumbly for the amount of taxes that we do pay. Holes in the streets, missing stop signs, things like that,” said Megan McGinnis, Lompoc resident.

City managers want residents to put those thoughts into action in a new interactive online budgeting tool. They plan to have the budgeting tool on the city’s website by Wednesday.

“This will help them see all the different choices that we’ve come up with. We can possibly balance it from additional cuts in service or an increase in revenue,” Throop said. “As they move around, they click the different buttons, that deficit that we’re currently in will get smaller or bigger, depending on what the choices are.”

Residents submit their budget decisions through an online survey which goes to Lompoc City Council ahead of their next budget hearing.

Residents who are interested in the online survey should submit their opinions soon. The city is hoping to take a look at results in March.