St. Paul residents are invited to join Mayor Chris Coleman tonight for the first of two public meetings to discuss solutions to the city's budget deficit.
Some of the potential cuts recommended by department heads include laying off nearly 130 police officers and firefighters, and closing a library and several recreation centers.
The city is preparing for a shortfall of about $44 million over the next two years.
Coleman says the budget crunch is not only larger than in years past, but it is also more challenging for the city to respond to it.
"The economy, being what it is, is very difficult, because I know if I lay somebody off, that's a person who is probably going to have a very difficult time finding employment, which would then lead to other problems, such as foreclosures. So it's a very different situation than what we've faced in the past," explained Coleman.
Coleman will present his final budget recommendations to the City Council next month.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty recommended last month slashing aid to local governments as a way to balance a multi-billion dollar state budget deficit.
- Feb. 17 - The first of Coleman's town-hall meetings will be 5:30 to 7 p.m. At the El Rio Vista Recreation Center/Neighborhood House, 179 E. Robie St.
- Feb. 24 - A second meeting will be held 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Bullard Rainforest Auditorium at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory Visitor Center, 1225 Estabrook Drive.