Council President Bas and Her Budget Team Secure Millions More in Amendments To Bolster Violence Prevention, Public Safety, Fire Services, Housing, Community and Economic Development
Oakland, CA — Late last night, after numerous town halls and public hearings and much public input, Oakland City Council adopted a balanced budget for fiscal year 2023-2025. While closing a historic $360 million deficit, this balanced budget focuses on delivering effective, equitable services to Oaklanders rooted in Oakland’s values of racial equity, fiscal responsibility, transparency and results.
Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas led the City Council’s budget amendments with her Budget Team, consisting of Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan (At-Large), Carroll Fife (District 3) and Kevin Jenkins (District 6).
“We are standing together despite facing the worst deficit Oakland has ever seen. I am proud of the work City Council did to provide more support for the vital services Oaklanders rely on building upon Mayor Thao’s proposed budget. Our balanced budget expands our community safety work by focusing investments in violence prevention programs, including more support to address sex trafficking; adding community ambassadors in our business corridors, focusing on our most impacted areas; adding civilian investigators to solve crimes; supporting small businesses by continuing our facade improvement program; activating our public spaces; providing critical funding for more affordable housing; and supporting arts, culture, parks, youth and senior programs,” said Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas.
“I am deeply grateful for Council President Bas, Councilmembers Fife, Kaplan, Jenkins, and Kalb, who voted to pass this budget, which, despite a historical deficit, puts Oaklanders first by investing in the full landscape of public safety, resulting in more officers moving forward, while simultaneously investing in violence prevention. In addition, this budget preserves jobs, delivering quality City services to residents and businesses; makes the largest investment in affordable housing in the City’s history; and centers our youth, families, and seniors,” said Mayor Sheng Thao.
The adopted balanced budget includes:
Strengthening Fire Safety by designating FEMA SAFER grant funds to reverse a proposed rolling Fire Station brown out, allowing the City to maintain fire and emergency service in all communities
Supporting Community Safety by adding funding for 24/7 crisis response, community ambassadors in business corridors, two civilian police investigators and dedicating resources to allow MACRO to fill vacant positions more quickly
Preventing Violence by investing $2.85 million more in violence prevention programs, including $600,000 focused on sex trafficking
Affordable Housing & Homelessness Solutions with $216 million for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing and a Council-created Rapid Response Homeless Housing Acquisition Fund with $8.8 million to more rapidly create housing for unhoused residents
Supporting Our Economy by increasing Cultural Affairs grants by $300,000 each year, adding funding for the activation of Frank Ogawa Plaza, providing business support by continuing the Facade Improvement Program and staffing for multilingual business assistance
Promoting Safe, Clean and Healthy Neighborhoods by increasing funding for parks maintenance and facilities improvements, and adding more than $10 million for traffic safety improvements
Supporting Families by expanding hours and services at Oakland’s Head Start and Early Head Start program and supporting senior programs
Expanding Democracy by laying the groundwork to implement Measure W/Democracy Dollars with necessary software, staff to conduct education and training, and discretionary funds to support the 2024 election
“Under Council President Bas’ leadership, the Council has passed a budget that truly embraces ‘One Oakland’. And we did it under the historical circumstances of the largest General Fund deficit in the history of the city. It was my honor to serve on the Council President’s Budget Team. We were able to work collaboratively and to listen to the concerns of Oaklanders. Along with the $216 million already allocated for affordable housing in the Mayor’s budget, Council created a Rapid Response Homeless Housing Acquisition Fund. This new fund will help rapidly acquire existing buildings to allow us to more effectively house the unsheltered. We have expanded resources to improve hiring and fill vacancies, and expand community programming activating public spaces.” said Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.
“In the toughest of budget cycles, I feel encouraged by the leadership and work of our staff, our city administration and our Council toward closing this historic deficit while preserving critical services and investing in our future. We scrutinized the budget, identified additional revenue and cost savings, and made hard decisions in order to restore critical programs for violence prevention, arts, seniors and small businesses,” said Councilmember Carroll Fife.
“The passage of this budget speaks to the resilience of Oakland and our commitment to address our most pressing issues. These difficult decisions we've made today signify not just our determination to increase affordable housing and tackle homelessness and violence, but also our dedication to nurturing a clean and beautiful city. This budget is a testament to our collective vision for a stronger Oakland.” said Councilmember Kevin Jenkins.