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Ione Faces Massive Budget Shortfall

IONE (CBS13) -- City officials are desperately searching for ways to trim the budget due to a shortfall that has left the town without a quarter of its anticipated general fund.

Interim city manager Jeff Butzlaff said the $500,000 crisis is the result of a series of errors, miscalculations and bad revenue projections that were compounded by slashed state funding.

"When we got here and realized the catastrophe we're in, we did our best to get our arms around the entire financial structure of the city," Butzlaff said.

Ione's mayor is facing a recall election and a grand jury investigation is reportedly underway over the city's financial documents.

Ione's former city manager, Kim Kerr, left three months ago for a new position in another county. She told CBS13 on Wednesday that she's ready to answer any questions the city has for her.

Even though the city only has 18 employees, drastic cuts are expected. Police Chief Mike Johnson volunteered to give back $10,000 of his own salary and said his entire department is in jeopardy.

"We thought there was going to be a couple hundred shortfall, but it's been, wow, anything but that," he said.

The city's parks, community centers and only pool could also be closed or privatized.

Butzlaff said it could take months to approve a budget fix.

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