GOLDSBORO, NCStruggling to cope with the economic downturn and facing budget cutbacks in the millions, city officials have proposed budget cuts that would impact fleet, according to the Goldsboro News-Argus.

Based on the first draft of the 2009-10 budget, the city will have about $2,770,602 less to work with this year than in 2008-09. The bulk of that amount would be taken from the General Fund, which would lose more than $1 million, and the Utility Fund, which would be cut by more than $1.3 million, according to the proposed budget.

The city garage fleet parts specialist position would be frozen under the new budget. In addition, several staff positions would be eliminated, including human resources safety/training coordinator, finance business operations manager, civil engineer, and two permanent part-time positions at the city golf course. The city plans to create one new position for a signal system maintenance supervisor in order to meet the obligations of an agreement executed with NCDOT.

Even after laying off employees and removing many items from the proposed budget, the city still faces a shortfall of more than $2.7 million, partly from the general fund. A large part of the problem is due to a considerable decrease sales tax revenue last year, City Manager Joe Huffman said.

Despite the economic challenges, some items included in the budget are very important to secure, Huffman said.

A recent audit of the fire department revealed a need for new equipment, and the proposed budget includes funding for two new fire trucks and a one-ton pickup truck. "This is equipment that could really affect life and death here," Huffman said.

The proposed budget also includes funding for painting station bays, concrete aprons and a high pressure mat jack, but does not provide for a new fire station or for making repairs to existing stations, although grant money might be available for repairs or construction of fire stations.

Mayor Al King and the City Council will meet Monday, April 27 to discuss the proposed budget.