Budget blues

If you haven’t had an opportunity, take a close look at Mayor Jean Quan’s budget options. You’ll want to focus on Attachment A where most of the budget reduction options are proposed.

Many of the proposals have received little notice from the media or the public. So, I’ve put together a quick list of a few items that could see cuts if adopted by City Council. Note, I’ve cited the page numbers to make the items easier to find.

Also, almost all City Hall departments are considering some form of staff reduction in order to save money. None of these options are set in stone and the City Council can make different  choices.

  • Under the City Attorney’s office, the Misdemeanor Prosecution Program and the Neighborhood Law Corp, legal assistance to low income neighborhoods, could be cut (pg. 26).
  • The Finance & Accounting proposal could close the Parking Division payment center every Friday. (pg. 23)
  • Oakland police would reduce its sworn staff by 10 police officers, saving about $1.4 million. In addition, another option is the “reduction of 10 police officers and reverting one Sergeant to police officer.”  (pg. 26) This will save an additional $1.5 million. Also the OPD’s Neighborhood Service Coordinators would be cut under the mayor’s budget options, saving about $1.2 million.
  • Under the city’s library service, an unspecified library branch could be closed and the African American Museum and Library would see its division transferred to the Oakland Museum or the Oakland Museum Foundation. (pg. 38)
  • Parks and Recreation would see the elimination of cultural arts programs and adult sports citywide, excluding fee base. (pg. 41)

These drastic proposals are strongly being considered by the Council because the city is in the deep red with a budget deficit of $58 million for the next fiscal year. Revenue for the city has stayed flat or declined and nagging debts – like the old Police and Fire Retirement System – are causing severe financial problems.

Mayor Quan going strong

More than 100 days into her term, Quan has strong approval from the city’s residents. According to a recent poll conducted by KPIX CBS 5, Quan has the approval of Oaklanders by a 2-to-1 margin.

KPIX CBS 5 says Quan has the “majority in every demographic group – men, women, young, old, white, non-white, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, educated, un-educated, conservative, and liberal.”

Have some city news or an event you’re just itching to tell? Hit me up: jenniferW[at]oaklandlocal.com and follow me on Twitter.

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