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Financially strapped Colton will lay off police officers

March 7, 2011 |  3:52 pm

Facing a $5.5-million budget shortfall, the Inland Empire city of Colton will lay off eight police officers by the end of April and has continued to negotiate for concessions from unions representing the city’s firefighters, police dispatchers and utility workers.

The police layoff notices went out at the end of last week.The San Bernardino County town has already laid off nearly 100 city workers in recent years as it struggles with declining sales tax revenue and loss of an unpopular utility tax that is set to expire in June.

The Colton City Council was considering laying off 16 police officers –- a third of theforce –- as well as shutting down the police agency entirely and contracting with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to take over law enforcement in the city.

Rich Randolph, a spokesman for the Colton Police Officers Assn., praised the City Council and City Manager Rod Foster for allowing the pink-slipped officers to stay on the payroll for the next two months as they look for other jobs, and said the police union will continue to work with city leaders to address the fiscal crisis.

Mayor David R. Zamora, in a statement released by the city, said the cuts were necessary to “survive these difficult economic times" and that the council is working hard to minimize cuts to service as it scrambles to balance the city’s $30-million budget.

RELATED:

Colton police agree to slash pay to avoid layoffs

--Phil Willon

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