The Berkeley City Council shifted more than $9 million out of the police department budget Tuesday night to help pay for a range of reforms called for by community members and city officials alike in recent weeks.
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and persistent calls to reform policing, officials pledged Tuesday night to remake the city budget as a “moral document” that better reflects Berkeley values.
Officials have promised to overhaul what public safety looks like in Berkeley in response to protests that have resonated across the city and nation in recent weeks.
The fund has paid for rent from March through June for about 214 people. Most of the payments went directly to Berkeley landlords.
Small businesses got an average grant of $2,744, arts organizations $16,818. Restaurants and food service businesses made up the largest category of grantees.
The city of Berkeley has frozen all hiring, effective Monday, in preparation for a 12% decrease in general fund revenues that is expected in the coming months.
Business closures in Berkeley could affect some 30,000 jobs, with unemployment reaching 27%, the city auditor estimated in a new report released this week about local economic impacts from COVID-19.
Berkeley is distributing $3 million and the Berkeley Relief Fund hopes to distribute another $3 million. The deadline for arts organizations is April 20. There is a rolling deadline for renters.
The city plans to launch a $3 million “relief fund” Sunday to help businesses, arts organizations and residential tenants.
Last week, officials voted to spend about $11 million in tax revenue on new and existing services to address homelessness, including an RV parking program and an outdoor homeless shelter for up to 50 people.
It’s that time of year again: when Berkeley officials review the budget to make sure the city’s June financial projections were on track and decide exactly how to spend — and save — its extra revenue.
More than 120 people volunteered time on Saturday to help build the tiny homes.