Hesperia isn't laying any employees off at the moment, but the city is tightening its belt with almost a million dollars of mid-year cuts.


"Revenue is down even more significantly than we'd anticipated this year," Assistant City Manager Brian Johnson said during a budget workshop held Tuesday afternoon at Hesperia City Hall. Declining property values don't help the situation, since property taxes are one of the city's main sources of revenue, especially for fire department funding.


And there's no new construction to speak of, so that Development Impact Fees that normally supplement city income isn't trickling in: Since March 2009, there has only been one single family residence building permit filed for.


The city is making $992,000 worth of cuts during the current fiscal year. (Hesperia's fiscal year ends on June 30.)


"There's a number of areas where we're tightening up," said Johnson.


Among the cuts are leaving currently vacant positions unfilled (down more than seven employees, including some part-timers) and cutting overtime for sheriff station employees.


"Our goal is to maintain police and fire at our current levels," said Johnson. "What we've relied on heavily is contracting out staff work relating to development, so we've been able to reduce our contracting-out" and do the work in-house instead.


If police expenditures had to be cut, he said, they would be made among support staff.


As is traditional at mid-year budget reviews, city staff proposed several new expenditures that can't wait until the new fiscal year, including half a million dollars to repair a stretch of 7th Avenue.


"As bad as it is, we're still in good shape compared to a lot of cities in the state," said Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star