Put on your budget caps, because the study sessions start next week. The first in a series of budget meetings and public hearings takes place Wednesday, with final adoption of budget for the next fiscal year scheduled for Tuesday, June 19.
Currently, the city projects a $9 million surplus for 2012-13, about one percent of total expenditures, according to a press release sent out by the city manager’s office Monday. The main reason for the reversal in fortune from a year ago, when the city had a shortfall of $115 million, came through reductions in services, layoffs and pay cuts.
Taking Mayor Chuck Reed’s suggestions for the budget in mind, City Manager Debra Figone suggests “a two-year approach” by taking this year’s $9 million surplus, “along with reserving $13.5 million in one-time funds,” to cover the $22.5 million shortfall predicted for 2013-14. That could mean “limited layoffs or reassignments of staff in certain programs,” Figone said, “but I’m also recommending that we increase staffing levels in a few critically important services where staffing is far too thin.” Overall, though, Figone said the city plans to add a net 70 positions.
According to the city manager, the proposed budget includes a total of $2.6 billion for all City funds (General, Special, and Capital). This is $278.5 million (9.8 percent) below the 2011-2012 Adopted Budget. The budget as proposed does not yet include funds that will be re-budgeted later this year and added to the final approved budget to complete multi-year projects.
Below are the “Highlights” of Figone’s 2012-2013 proposed budget:
• Continue services that were funded on a one-time basis in 2011-2012, including three police officers for field patrol, two park rangers, the safe school campus initiative at middle schools, an enhanced crossing guard program, and operation of the Lake Cunningham Skate Park.
• Open the Seven Trees, Bascom, Educational Park, and Calabazas branch libraries and the Bascom Community Center. These facilities were all constructed using general obligation bonds approved by San José voters in 2000.
• Begin to address some of the most immediate and critical of the City’s unmet or deferred infrastructure needs, including $2 million for repairs at the Water Pollution Control Plant; $1.9 million to reduce sanitary sewer overflows; and $1.8 million to increase the level of critical basic preventative maintenance at City facilities.
• Address essential operational needs to strengthen the organization, meet community expectations, or mitigate the potential risk of higher long-term costs. These include funding for police targeted enforcement, park landscape irrigation, additional park rangers, street sweeping signage, and staffing for employment, accounting and information technology support.
• Fund a limited number of programs and initiatives identified in the Mayor’s March Budget Message as approved by the City Council, including a one-time increase of $2 million to nearly double the City’s support for gang prevention, intervention and suppression programs through the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, as well as fund $600,000 for senior services and wellness programs.
• Continue to implement new models for service delivery that can help reduce costs or improve service levels and quality. Examples include a pilot program to realign landscape maintenance staff into larger teams to provide comprehensive servicing of an entire park in one visit rather than multiple smaller teams making several visits; focus pavement maintenance on the 400 miles of the priority network of major streets that carry 87% of traffic but eliminate preventative maintenance on local/neighborhood streets; and contracting out curbside management services at the Airport to reduce the Airport’s costs by approximately $1 million.