(Dec. 19) A proposal that would cut the 2008-09 budget of the California Tree Fruit Agreement, Reedley, by nearly $2.5 million has been tabled — for a second time. The tree fruit agreement is the marketing arm of the state’s peach, plum and nectarine industry.

A recommendation by the organization’s executive committee to cut the per-carton assessment from 14.5 cents to 9.5 cents was on the agenda and was to have been decided at the agreement’s Nov. 27 meeting, said president Sheri Mierau. Member growers voted instead to put off a vote until Dec. 18. Now the vote has been postponed until February, the final month of the organization’s fiscal year.

“There were no formal adoptions,” Mierau said of the Dec. 18 meeting.

The bulk of the organization’s approximately $9 million budget was tentatively approved. Still to be decided is what to do with nearly three-quarters of a million dollars that is yet to be allocated.

“In February, the subcommittees will come back with recommendations for the $722,000, and at that time the committee members will vote,” Mierau said. “The assessments will also be set in February.”

The organization’s fiscal year begins March 1.