Budget Update 6/20/2021

MOBN! has been carefully following the development of the City of Oakland 2021-23 biennial budget. Here is our current update. The City Council is well into the budget process. The Council met on June 17th to receive the Council President’s Budget amendments and received numerous suggested amendments from Council members. It will consider the Budget further on June 24th. It could adopt the budget then or if necessary continue hearings to June 29th. The President’s budget proposes very significant changes to the Mayor’s proposed Budget. The Council has also received the report from the Budget Advisory Commission.

Here are the various documents:

Budget Commission and Staff Response Amendments

Council President’s Proposed Amendments

Mayor Libby Schaaf has responded with a letter critical of the President’s proposed amendments.

Make Oakland Better Now! Has also weighed into the process with the following letter.

June 16, 2021

“To: Members of Oakland City Council

From: Make Oakland Better Now!

Re: President’s Proposed Budget

Make Oakland Better Now! has just completed a review of the President’s Proposed Budget Amendments submitted by President Bas. We submit the following comments for your consideration.

As a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic our city is facing very significant budget challenges. Revenues are down, expenses continue to rise due to the well- established structural imbalance in the budget. Fortunately, the immediate crises has been ameliorated by the introduction of very significant federal relief. This relief cannot be expected to be available for future budget. Therefore, we have the following concerns with the proposed amendments;

  1. The budget depends upon over $200 million in one-time revenues to balance the budget. However, the budget amendments also propose significant new programs. We do not believe this pattern of expenditures can be maintained in the future without very significant new revenues. The only new revenues under consideration are modest at best.
  2. Our City faces long term liabilities in excess of $2.6 billion. However, we see no attempt to address this issue. Similarly, the attempt to rebuild the Rainy- Day Fund, which was so critical in the last year, is very modest. As Auditor Ruby noted in her very recent report there needs to be more robust efforts to build reserves and address long term liabilities.
  3. The amendments propose four ballot measures to meet city financial needs. We doubt the electorate will react favorably unless our City’s financial house is in order.
  4. Finally, although we have supported efforts to reimagine public safety we do not favor actions which may reduce first line law enforcement officers unless and until alternative response and prevention programs are up and running and proven to be sufficient to reduce violent crime. Then it may be appropriate to reduce the number of officers. We support MACRO, Ceasefire and similar efforts but our City’s current level of violence demands a robust police force. We are not confident the proposed amendments will insure that.

We urge you to carefully review the proposed amendments to insure they will promote both the current and long-term fiscal solvency of Oakland. We look forward to working with you to achieve this.”

We’ll let you know when further action is taken.

Make Oakland Better Now!

OakTalk Here is the blog of Make Oakland Better Now!, an Oakland community grassroots group of a grass-roots group of voters, volunteers, and policy advocates committed to improving the City of Oakland by focusing on public safety, public works, and responsible budgets. Founded in 2003, we’ve researched, lobbied, and successfully campaigned for a number of new, impactful policies, including the city’s Rainy Day Fund, Measure Z and Operation Ceasefire.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Steve Heimoff

    I agree with MOBN’s position on the budget. This is certainly not the time to be cutting OPD’s budget. The people who would defund the police seem to be motivated by ideology, not public safety. On behalf of the Coalition for a Better Oakland, we stand with MOBN!

  2. setters2

    How can the Oakland CC be convinced to stop this insanity ? Where can ordinary oakland citizens and taxpayers influence this process ? I see little hope since the mayor has little budget power and cc seems to be dominated by people with no fiscal or common sense.

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