On May 12, the city of Berkeley’s budget manager, Teresa Berkeley-Simmons, will present to city council the proposed spending over the next five years for capital improvements. This includes money to be spent on sidewalks, streets, parks, storm drains, sewers, and transportation such as bike improvement projects.
When the Berkeley City Council held a worksession on the budget on Feb. 25, there was good news and bad news.
Berkeley’s General Fund projections include a deficit of more than $5 million over the next two years, requiring city leaders to take a tough look at its more cash-strapped departments to reign in costs.
Some of the scale of the budget difficulties face by the City of Berkeley was painted graphically at a special session of the City Council last night. The city faces a deficit of $3 million in its general fund and $9.5 million in its special funds that could require the elimination of 96 positions over the next two years.
The City Council tonight will hear a report on mid-year budget revisions for the current fiscal year, designed to respond to a revenue shortfall of $1.8 million. According to City Manager Phil Kamlarz, planned savings are already on track for $1 million. The remaining $800,000 of the deficit will be covered by deferring capital expenditures, primarily from the street rehabilitation budget. An increase in projected expenses from the adopted budget is being covered from $4.62 million from the reserves.
The Berkeley City Council special session on the $310 million — or higher — unfunded liability on promised employee benefits revealed the difficult choices faced by the city.