Last week, I looked at how Oakland’s total budget and General Fund is spread out through various city departments. Here’s a different way of looking at where our money goes.
As you probably remember, the General Fund is the portion of the budget where the City has discretionary power over funding. You can view the specific distribution of the General Fund budget by department here, but it basically breaks down like this:
Now, the vast majority of the General Fund goes to personnel costs, which includes salaries, benefits, and retirement. A small portion goes to operations and maintenance, and the rest is mostly transfers and payments to other funds, debt service and so on. Below are the totals for the FY08-09 General Fund expenditures by type. These numbers (and all those that follow) were taken from the City’s five year financial forecast (PDF) released in December, and reflect the budget cuts made by the Council last November.
So, what about all those fund transfers and “other”? Well, basically, Oakland made a lot of poor decisions over a lot of years, which stuck us in a situation where many of our funds have negative balances. In 2005, we adopted a 10-year repayment plan to address the deficits, but of course, we didn’t actually follow it, so instead of getting better, the problem has just been getting worse.
The Facilities Fund is supposed to pay for repairs and maintenance of property owned by the City. About half of this fund’s costs are for staff. The negative balance in that one is projected at $32.4 million over ten years, and the General Fund had to cough up $11 million this year to cover the gap there. The Equipment Fund pays for maintaining things like the City’s cars, trucks, and construction equipment, and began the year with a projected $22.4 million negative balance over ten years, and we paid $8.4 million to that from the General Fund this year. A little less than a third of this fund’s costs are for staffing.
Other funds on repayment schedules for their negative balances include the Kaiser Convention Center Fund, the Telecommunication Fund, and the Contract Compliance Fund. A little bit of good news here is that we have actually been making our scheduled payments to these three funds, and the Telecommunications Fund will be repaid (if we keep to the schedule) by the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year. Then there’s the Self-Insurance Liability Fund, which we use to cover claims against the City. That got $14.98 million from the General Fund this year. And the Comprehensive Clean-Up Fund (parking enforcement) gets $600,000 too.
Another chunk of money goes to Kids First, the voter-mandated set-aside for after-school programs. We have to make lease payments on a bunch of property (Museum, Convention Center, City Administration building). We pay an annual contribution to the Wildfire Prevention Assessment District. Then there’s our debt service on the Coliseum, and a bunch of other small subsidies to various feel-good activities. It all comes out to a little over $90 million, or nearly 20% of the General Fund. And it looks like this:
The “Non-Departmental Subsidies” break out like this: