The City Council is bracing for $5 million in budget cuts it may need to make should the economy not recover. Mayor Marty Blum and her council colleagues will trim 30 percent off the $9,600 they are each allotted for travel expenses and assistants’ pay. Department heads are being asked to prepare for at least $3 million in cuts, though not all departments will be cut uniformly. Police and fire will be partially protected. (/city1211)
In response to what staff and city councilmembers characterized as disastrous tree pruning and removal incidents-notably the unpermitted downing of several trees at 601 E. Anapamu St.-the City Council directed its Ordinance Committee to create clear standards for preserving trees that are part of required street setbacks or landscape plans, with fines significant enough to act as a deterrent.
The purchasing power wielded by the City of Santa Barbara-to the tune of $60 million-$80 million annually-can be used to change the way goods are manufactured, packaged, and shipped. That was the logic behind the City Council’s unanimous adoption on 12/9 of an Environmental Preferred Purchasing Policy, which will add green criteria to specifications for materials in every city department.
While most of the U.S. Army’s 425th Civil Affairs Battalion is currently deployed in Iraq, about 20 soldiers from the unit were officially welcomed home in a 12/6 ceremony at the Canary Hotel. Attended by Congressmember Lois Capps and Brigadier General William Beard-the commander under whom the 425th operates-the event had speakers and attendees discussing the availability of benefits for returning soldiers and the important role soldiers’ families play in providing emotional support. (/soldiers1211)