CATHEDRAL CITY – This city, the second largest in the Coachella Valley, is scrutinizing ways to make budget cuts due to the impacts of the coronavirus.  Where these cuts are made is up for discussion in a special City Council meeting on Wednesday, June 17.

Staff estimates potential budget deficits of $6.3 million for FY 2019/2020 and $10.7 million for FY 2020/2021, according to a staff report from Tami Scott, Administrative Services Director.

The loss of tourism in Cathedral City and the Coachella Valley from the COVID-19 Pandemic and uncertainty of an economic recovery time frame will have a significant impact on related tax revenues for the upcoming fiscal year. As such, the City must “realign” its levels to match the potential for a new COVID-19 economic reality, Scott wrote in her report.

Some of the proposed budget cuts come at the expense of the Cathedral City Fire Department.

There is a 19-page staff report which articulates the proposed budget reductions in detail.

The report recommends reducing 33 positions citywide, seven (7) of which are sworn positions in the fire department.

These staff reductions along with other operational budget cuts in the fire department will result in a 13.31% budget reduction ($1,759,409) for the 2020/2021 budget beginning July 1, 2020, according to Blake Goetz, Interim Fire and Emergency Services Administrator.

The fire department will eliminate one shift battalion chief and six firefighters (two of which are vacant) saving $1,089,339 in personnel costs, and $670,070 from our operating budget, according to Goetz,”

‘This is terrible news for all of us and hopefully the City Council will not act on all the proposed recommendations,” Goetz told fire fighters in an email. “I urge all of you to digest the staff report so you may understand the circumstances that require such drastic cost cutting measures and their impacts citywide.”





Image Sources

  • Cathedral City Firefighters: Corey Goddard