Archived News Release from 2004
For Immediate Release
Council Moves Forward with Budget, Including Reductions in Some City Services
Redwood City, CA - June 29 , 2004
- At its meetings of June 21st and June 28th , 2004 the City Council of Redwood City grappled with the difficult issue of making necessary expenditure reductions in response to the $9.2 million deficit for the 2004-2005 fiscal year (beginning July 1, 2004). The Council has approved proceeding with the City Manager's recommended budget reductions in the amount of $5.1 million and directed that an additional $1 million in proposed expenditure reductions or new revenues be brought to the Council in three months. The Council also directed that reserve funds be utilized to close the remaining $4.1 million gap.
The actual budget ordinance (the legal document necessary to enact the budget) will be introduced at the Council's meeting of July 12 and final adoption will be considered at the meeting of July 26.
While the required budget cuts are difficult and will mean a reduction in City services, it's critically important that the City adjust its spending to be in line with its revenues. Making the additional $1 million in cuts will reduce the level of reductions necessary next year to address fiscal year 2005-2006's projected $5.7 million deficit.
"This is the most challenging budget situation this City has experienced in decades, and unfortunately the effects are widespread among a lot of people and programs," said Redwood City Mayor Jeff Ira . "I'm confident of our community's ability to successfully meet this challenge, and I want to remind our citizens that we are facing this difficult situation together. The budget problems are not over, but we are well-positioned to weather this storm with prudent forethought and creative solutions."
Throughout preparation and deliberation of the 2004-2005 budget the City staff and the City Council worked diligently, creatively, and with utmost care in determining where cuts could be made with the least impact to the services on which our community depends. But with $5.1 million in budget reductions (and the possibility of another $1 million cut in the fall) there is an unavoidable effect on City services. Here is a summary of some of the more significant community impacts.
A number of community contracts will be suspended resulting in wide and varied impact throughout the City, including reductions in community events and activities, conflict resolution services for the community, and economic development programs.
One fire engine will be out of service for two "lower call volume" days per week, putting other nearby engine companies in a more active response role, while maintaining equity with the engine service reductions of nearby jurisdictions, which have automatic mutual aid agreements with the City.
We will not be able to process many violations of the City's sign ordinance, and there will be delays in processing of building regulation issues.
The Schaberg and Fair Oaks branch libraries will each be closed one day per week (Schaberg on Fridays and Fair Oaks on Saturdays), the upgrade or replacement of public use computers at all libraries will be deferred indefinitely, and several positions will be eliminated thus reducing the level of customer service and the timely processing of library materials.
City building maintenance and custodial services, and park landscape maintenance and will be noticeably reduced. While the City will aggressively pursue other means of addressing these needs, citizens will see a lower level of maintenance at all our parks.
The Human Services Financial Assistance program will have less funding to grant to organizations providing a variety of human services programs, including senior, youth, affordable housing, disabled, and education.
Fewer music, culture, and arts activities for the community will take place as a result of reduced funding for the Civic Cultural Commission.
Three of the City's free summer drop-in programs at our parks were eliminated.
Support staff reductions in the Police Department mean that it will take longer to produce reports, there will be more use of voice mail for answering of business phone lines, and likely other administrative backlogs. Eliminating the positions of two community service officers, one sergeant, and one patrol officer will mean less flexibility in scheduling, less assignments to special events, and less time available for community oriented policing activities.
Property Tax Funding Explained
A common misperception exists that Redwood City receives all of the annual property tax collected within the City. This is not the case. For example: a house that is assessed ( not market value) at $500,000 pays 1% annually in property tax, or $5,000. Of that $5,000 in total property tax, Redwood City only gets 18%, or $900 in this example, which goes into the general fund. The rest of the property tax goes to the County, the State, school districts, and special districts.
From the property tax received, the City pays for the following functions in the percentages of the general fund shown:
Police Department 35.3%
Fire Department 20.8%
Parks and Recreation 15.7%
Community Development 7%
Public Works 1.7%
Transfers - out 1.6%
(to non-general fund programs)
Remaining 5 Deptartments 10%
(City manager, clerk, attorney, finance, and HR)
It may be a surprise to many that the City receives only this relatively small portion of annual property tax. This illustrates the value that each household receives from that small percentage. Homeowners can look at their own property tax bill and easily calculate the amount that goes to the City (18% of the dollar amount of their property tax bill), and to the various City departments (percentages shown above) - it's clear that the City is providing great value for these tax dollars.
Additional budget information is available online at www.redwoodcity.org/budgetinfo, and the City's complete 2004-2006 budget and related documents are available at www.redwoodcity.org/finance.
Redwood City 's website at www.redwoodcity.org also contains information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and City government.
Contact: Ed Everett