Archived News Release from 2010
For Immediate Release
Redwood City Faces Budget Deficit, Focuses on Providing Critical Services to the Community as “Job #1”
Redwood City, CA - May 5, 2010 - As Redwood City prepares its fiscal year 2010/11 and 2011/12 budget, City staff and the City Council must deal with an estimated $6.4 million deficit, and will be making some very difficult decisions about cuts to services and reductions in staff in order to balance the budget. In addressing this ongoing budget deficit, Redwood City is committed to maintaining its focus on “Job #1” – the City is here to provide services to the community, services that the people pay for and expect the City to deliver.
The City Council of Redwood City reiterates this guiding principle to the community, and assures those that live and work in Redwood City that one of the fundamental aspects of doing Job #1 is to ensure the fiscal health of the City. Accomplishing this will be a difficult task since it’s likely that budget deficits will continue for the next several years, unless the City makes some significant changes to correct that fiscal course.
Some measures have already been taken. In July, 2009 the Council made $4.2 million of programmatic cuts while all employees agreed to a salary freeze that saved the general fund $1.2 million. Halfway through the current budget year, continued deterioration of the City’s revenue sources was evident, and in November, 2009, the Council approved nearly $1 million of additional annual expenditure reductions.
Today, despite the fact that the City has already used a significant amount of its financial reserves, reduced staff, frozen salaries, and increased fees and rates, the City still faces a chronic budget deficit. The City Council is working aggressively to reduce the deficit to zero, and without further use of reserves. To do this, the Council has directed the City Manager to provide a combination of expenditure reductions and revenue alternatives that will result in a balanced budget next year. Right now, this means a minimum of 8% in cuts across-the-board, and probably more. There will likely be more than 40 positions cut from the City’s workforce. Every City department is also expected to look at alternative ways of providing services, to seek partnerships that enable more efficient and effective service-delivery models, to pursue sharing services with other cities in the region, and to explore contracting-out or contracting-in services to save money or produce revenue.
It’s also time to reexamine the cost drivers associated with staffing, as personnel costs represent about 80% of the annual budget, and determine what can be done to curb those costs in the long term.
The City Council will hold budget study sessions on June 21st and June 28th, with a possible additional session on June 30th, all starting at 7 pm at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road. The community is invited and encouraged to attend these sessions and be a part of the discussion of how Redwood City will face these severe budgetary constraints, while maintaining critical community services. Members of the community can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with their cost-saving ideas and opinions on how the City staff can more efficiently do their jobs and carry out City functions, in light of the reductions that must be made. More information is available in the City’s recent Community Notes newsletter, which is available online at www.redwoodcity.org/communitynotes.
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