In December, the City Administrator cut vital City services such as sideshow enforcement, foot patrols, three fire stations, youth programs, traffic enforcement, part of the Ceasefire program, and others. These cuts were in response to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but were also made without any community or Council input or without a vote from the City Council.
After months of increased violent crime, vandalism, and sideshows and an upcoming wildfire season that is looking even dryer than last year’s, my office made restoring vital public safety services as well as important youth, park, and recreational services a top priority. Thankfully President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act which provided much-needed funding to cover our city's deficit, and Vice Mayor Kaplan and Councilmember Reid secured $10 million from the city’s Coliseum Joint Powers Authority..
In April, the City Council appropriated the funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Coliseum to restore these vital City services. I was proud to fight to amend this measure, and worked with the City Council to restore and expanded the following services:
Restoring and expanding these services is a huge first step, but it won’t be the last. The City Council will be drafting the next two-year budget in the coming months. I will continue to fight for resources to make Oakland’s streets safer through traffic safety improvements, preventative measures like Sideshow Enforcement and Walking Officers, Youth Programs, and funding for trash removal and parks.
Breaking Down the Budget Season
The City of Oakland is in the process of determining its FY21 - 23 budget, and it’s essential that Oaklanders everywhere remain engaged and ensure their tax dollars are being invested in their priorities. This is why the Mayor and City Council invite you to learn about and stay engaged with our budget process.
The Budget Timeline
This City of Oakland is required by law to produce a balanced budget that ensures our "revenues" (the amount of money the City brings in) are equal to or greater than our "expenditures" (the amount of money the City spends to deliver essential services). While other cities and government agencies have different cycles, Oakland approves a budget every two fiscal years. The budget currently under consideration runs from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023.
The City of Oakland's budget is funded through local taxes, service fees, grants, voter-approved bonds, and other sources.
When you pay taxes, such as sales or property tax, a percentage comes to the City to fund local programs and services. For example, for every dollar that you pay in property tax, the City of Oakland receives a little less than 26 cents. The rest goes to other local government agencies like Alameda County, AC Transit, and Oakland Unified School District.
See Councilmember Thao’s first round of budget priorities here.
Understanding Your Budget Priorities
Community outreach is a huge deal for me and my office, and working to build a budget that represents the values of our diverse city. My office will be doing extensive outreach, including several community meetings and listening sessions throughout the budget process.
Per the budget timeline, our office has already submitted our initial budget priorities based off of data collected over the past two years. You can read my office’s budget priorities here, and if you feel strongly that other items should be added you can do so via our survey, email, phone call, or at future public events.
We also encourage all District 4 residents to complete our budget survey so we can get a better idea of priorities by neighborhood and demographics. You can find a link to the survey here.
In order to get a better understanding of your budget priorities I will be hosting and joining community events to highlight the budget process as well as answer questions and hear from you about what you’d like to see funded. Special thank you to the Allendale Neighborhood Council who hosted me early!
Join me at the following budget forums and events:
Montclair Neighborhood Council
Agendized - Thursday, May 6th from 5:30pm - 6:00pm
Feel free to stay for the whole meeting to learn more about Montclair Neighborhood Council!
Budget Forum with City Finance Department
Thursday, May 13th from 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Thursday, May 20th from 5:30pm - 7:00pm