"If they take away Costa Mesa animal control, then they're basically giving a death sentence to a lot of animals," she said.
To achieve some last-minute cuts, City Chief Executive Tom Hatch proposed leaving some of the 29 vacant city positions unfilled, or eliminating some of those empty positions. He also said the city could spend half of the $100,000 budgeted to hire an economic development consultant; economic development is one of the priorities identified by this business-minded council. The council approved all of his ideas.
Most of the public comments came in the beginning of the meeting, while the actual budget wasn't adopted until past 1 a.m. Only a handful of people spoke in favor of the council majority's plans.
In February, the city announced the potential layoffs of 213 city employees — nearly half the city's workforce — across 18 departments. Tuesday's budget, however, assumes most of those employees will still be working for the city, as companies are still responding to the outsourcing proposals.
Not until the fall will the council be able to decide which outsourcing plans are cost-effective, city spokesman William Lobdell said before the meeting.
The financial debate took a tragic turn in March when city maintenance worker Huy Pham, 29, jumped to his death from the roof of City Hall. He was to receive a layoff notice later that day.
Since that time, council members have reported threats of violence and vandalism of their property. More than 10 police officers stood sentry at the meeting Tuesday.