Whittier feels the economic crunch

The economic crisis is hitting home in the San Gabriel Valley, particularly Whittier, where officials are planning to slash $2 million from the budget to offset the loss of some major retailers.

Mike Sprague reports that City Manager Steve Helvey “is asking all of his department heads to come up with a 5 percent cut to make that happen.”

Apparently, in December 2007 Board Ford shut down, followed by the closures of a Chrysler dealership and Whittier Mitsubishi. A Mervyns retail store will be the next to go.

“Helvey said he will let the department heads come up with their own budget “hit list.” Those have yet to be developed.

But he wants to slash entire programs, not just diminish them.

“I’d prefer to stop things we do than doing things halfway,” he said.

Helvey said the cuts may affect personnel, but it’s too early to say if there will be layoffs.

Look for the full story in tomorrow’s paper.