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:
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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.