Lynette at Youth Public Safety Meeting

Lynette at Youth Public Safety Meeting

Managing your money is an important duty of the city council. Your elected representative provides input and advocacy on how the city spends its’ revenue and takes on debt.

By law, the council must adopt a balanced budget by June 30. Our next budget will be for the period July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.

The budget should be more than just numbers on a page – it should reflect the values and priorities of the citizens. It says this is what matters and how we will pay for it.

Last month, Mayor Jean Quan released her budget proposal to the council. The mayor’s proposal highlights improvements in Oakland’s fiscal health and acknowledges the significant role city employees made to help address the fiscal crisis.

This is important. Employee contributions helped Oakland avoid bankruptcy unlike other California cities, and improve its’ fiscal operations despite losing close to $30 million in redevelopment funds.

But these contributions or give-backs did not come without a cost. The city reduced its workforce to the lowest in decades and employees who stayed took pay cuts and lost benefits.

In the end, Oaklanders had to accept a lower level of essential city services like reduced policing, library hours, senior services, blight abatement, and road maintenance. At last week’s budget meeting, I told the mayor and the council that the adopted 2013-2015 budget must allow the citizens of Oakland and staff to share in the gain, just as they did the pain.

Good signs: Revenue is up in key categories, including transfer tax, property tax and sales tax. Good fiscal management has helped Oakland maintain strong credit ratings.

We are paying down our debt and making regular contributions to reduce unfunded liabilities – at a regular rate – which is a good sign that this council is working hard to overcome mistakes of the past.

Things to consider: Rising costs for healthcare, insurance and retirement are rising faster than inflation and are outpacing economic growth.

What I like:

• Keeps city hall open – eliminating city shut-down days ensuring garbage pick-up and open libraries during the holidays
• Adds graffiti and blight abatement officers
• Retains Head Start
• Increases the number of police officers
• Funds much needed repairs and maintenance to streets, sidewalks and crumbling city facilities like deFremery Park and Recreation center

What I’d like to change:

• More consideration for Health & Human Services to support public safety by investing in youth programs, homeless and re-entry services
• More funding to abate blight & illegal dumping including added code enforcement staff
• Increased funding for Animal Services
• Ensure protections for affordable housing

I am going to spend the next several weeks talking to my councilmembers, staff and the public, about the budget to make sure that the one we adopt reflects our values, improves our quality of life, and maintains our stature as a well-run city

                                           Your voice matters!

Join us at the budget workshops to share your priorities and concerns. I look forward to your input in person at these meetings, by email, and or phone.

Budget town hall (for District 1 and District 3)

Saturday, May 18 from noon – 2 p.m.
Beebe Memorial Cathedral, 3900 Telegraph Ave.

Budget hearing

May 23 – All-city council budget hearing
June 13 – All-city council budget hearing
June 27 – Final city council budget hearing and adoption
(These meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m. at city hall)

In your service,

Lynette

P.S. – To see the city budget in a more visual way, I encourage you to visit openbudgetoakland.org/ to see how funding is distributed to City services and departments.

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