|Community Meetings to Seek
Citizen Input on Budget Options
March 10, 2004
In the next eight days, six community meetings will be held to seek citizen input on what service cuts should be made to balance the budget. The first meeting will be tonight from 6-8 PM at the Hilltop Community Room. The City Council is scheduled to act on March 23 to implement actions to erase a lingering $7 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, and to prevent a much larger $28 million shortfall predicted for FY 2004-2005.
The City Manager, Finance Director and their consulting team have outlined several broad scenarios, some combination of which will be required to achieve the required results. These include:
The only action the City Council can take unilaterally is layoffs. All others require successful negotiations with the unions. In the event that layoffs occur, they are likely to have a significant impact on City services. It is important to understand the priorities of citizens before this occurs.
The times and the locations of the community meetings are listed below. The attached WORD file describes the content and agenda of the meetings.
Wed. March 10, 6-8 pm
Hilltop Community Room (Hilltop Mall)
2200 Hilltop Mall Rd
Thurs. March 11, 6-8 pm
Memorial Convention Center (Auditorium)
2600 Barrett Ave
Sat. March 13, 12-2 pm
Good Samaritan Church - In Espaņol
465 19th St
Mon. March 15, 6-8 pm
First Baptist Church
770 Sonoma St
(at Solano Ave)
Wed. March 17, 6-8pm
2601 May Rd.
Thurs. March 18, 6-8pm
Easter Hill Methodist Church
3911 Cutting Blvd
In a related action last night, a bare majority of the City Council voted to direct staff to begin implementing an Action Plan introduced on March 3 that will correct and reallocate $26 million of internal funds to create liquidity in the General Fund. These fund transfers will have no effect on public services or employees, but the conversion of capital funds to operating funds will probably delay projects such as the City Hall rehabilitation. Those Council members who did not vote to support the Action Plan last night wanted to wait to get more public input on the capital fund reallocation, although they had no suggestions for any alternatives.
Many citizens and employees continue to ask for details on how this debacle happened, which individuals were responsible, and what action, if any, will be taken to make those individuals accountable. They believe it is important to understand this so that it can be prevented from happening again. Requests have been made by a number of people for a Grand Jury investigation. So far, however, the administration has focused on a resolution of the crisis rather than retribution.