The wait is over! Well, sort of.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan promised late last year that we’d see a proposed budget in March. And one day before the end of the month, we’ve gotten…well, not exactly a budget. She’s calling it a “budget framework,” which, based on a quick perusal, seems to be a nice way of saying “We’ll figure it out later.”
Information about the “framework” is available on the City’s website in the three documents. First, a memo from the Mayor (PDF) outlining the City’s budget problems. Second, a summary of potential cut options by department (PDF). Third, a list of the service impacts of previous budget cuts (PDF).
I am looking forward to reading the documents more thoroughly tonight (this is exactly what I needed to break out of my blogging coma!), and will post in more detail tomorrow. But there’s no reason you guys can’t get started now.
Here’s the overview from Quan’s memo:
The projected FY 2011/12 general purpose fund (GPF) decifict is $46 million, despite addressing over $170 million in shortfalls over the last several years. However, this deficit is likely to be much larger due to signs of 1) weakening revenues in the current fiscal year; 2) expected State and Federal budget actions; and 3) mounting health care, pension costs and increases in the cost of doing business. The projected shortfall grows each subsequent year as expenditures rise and revenues recede.
The current budgetary issues are widespread, touching virtually every government service Oakland provides. The policy and management decisions which must be made to stabilize the upcoming budgets will be among the most difficult ever faced by this City. Unlike any other time in our history, this process is going to necessitate nothing short of elected officials, City employees and Oakland’s residents working together to make the required tough choices and critical investments in the coming years. Furthermore the financial challenges are simply too great to be remedied by any one approach in one year and all budget balancing strategies must be on the table. The size of the projected deficit necessitates the following:
- Staff reductions;
- New revenues;
- Restructuring of City departments
- Prioritization of services and corresponding program eliminations;
- Additional employee concessions; and
- Creative collaboration between local, county, state, federal governments and the private sector.
She requests that the City Council provide her a list of their priorities in the budget by April 8th.
Describing her plan in ever so slightly more detail, she offers:
The Administration’s balanced framework for developing its Proposed Budget is as follows:
- $20-$25 million in departmental reductions (Attachment A) represents over $30 million in potential reductions);
- $11-$15 million in revenue increases, including approximately $11 million from an $80/parcel tax;
- $10-15 million in employee concessions; and
- $10-$15 million in various other balancing measures, such as land sales.
- Total = $51 million to $70 million
Some of the budget reduction options for FY2011/12 with significant public impacts currently under consideration are listed by department in Attachment A (PDF). In addition to the items included in the attachment, City Administration is also considering various reorganizations and consolidations of City services and programs that require additional analysis and costing. These items include, but not limited to the follow:
- Centralization of general government functions;
- Consolidation of payment centers;
- Civilianization of Police Internal Affairs and other functions;
- Partnerships with other cities and other agencies;
- Facilities consolidation (including libraries, recreation centers and senior centers);
- Elimination of all City vehicles other than OPD, OFD and heavy equipment;
- Merging of City departments
- Increasing certain fees for services;
- Transfer of Animal Shelter services to other outside agency;
- Installation of cameras on street sweeping vehicles;
- Moving City towards a “Cloud Computing” model (which would allow most city documents to be stored securely on the web, instead of desktops); and
- Partnerships with OUSD, County, and other outside agencies for program efficiencies
Of note, the attached options may not be the ones proposed by the City Administration, and additional options may also be proposed that are not included on the list above or the attached departmental pages. This list is merely provided for Council’s information to make you aware of the magnitude of the problem, and no decisions are necessary at this time on any particular reduction or new revenue.