It is the City of San Jose’s process that City Manager Debra Figone puts forth a budget proposal in May. Then, after that is released, councilmembers make their budget proposals to Mayor Chuck Reed.
When the Councilmembers make written suggestions of their “budget wants,” they also need to include what funding source within the city will be affected (some written suggestions from councilmembers are done in collaboration with labor unions).
Then, the Mayor takes into consideration the City Manager’s budget proposal and the Councilmember’s suggestions, and comes up with a final budget. Of course, a mayor could put together their own budget without this input, but it is customary that the mayor takes other perspectives into consideration.
As a result, Mayor Reed’s budget message was released on Friday.
Every San Jose mayor must put forth a balanced budget to be voted on by the City Council. The mayor is one of 11 votes. So, just like any agenda item that comes before the Council, six votes are needed to pass or deny the item at hand.
Mayor Reed’s current budget proposal does some delicate balancing of top priorities using the limited funds we have. For some, there may be nothing to like because it is such a thin budget. However, what are the alternatives? There is no other proposal that has this level of detail, accuracy or is this candid with the challenges we face as a city.
We know both from scientific surveys done by the city and by my non-scientific web surveys that San Jose residents want to see concessions from city employees rather then cutting services.
There has been a lot of talk about 10 percent concessions.
Anything less than a 10 percent concession will result in more layoffs and therefore more service cuts to residents. Where we end up is a mystery. Still, there is little time left. What is done or not done prior to passing the current budget may implode any chance for future revenue opportunities in November.
The council may vote to drain all of the reserves and punt a portion of the problem down a short road. I do not support that option.
San Jose has some the smallest reserves when compared to other California cities. San Jose has a 3 percent reserve that only covers 2.5 weeks of payroll. Los Angeles has a 5 percent reserve, San Diego and Anaheim have a 7 percent reserve, and Long Beach has a 10 percent reserve.
I invite everyone to read Mayor Reed’s budget message if you have a stake in San Jose. It is imperative for people to understand the challenges before all of us.
Here is a link to the Mayor’s official budget message.
Here is a link to my “Budget Trade-Offs” survey which includes with over 1,000 participants.
Here is a link to my written budget proposal to the Mayor. It suggests reducing items not in the city charter and instead funding core services like police and libraries.
If people support the Mayor, I ask them to please send an email to the entire San Jose city council by clicking on this link.
The public hearing on this budget is June 14 at 7pm, and will go until late. The vote on the Mayor’s budget is June 15 at approximately 3pm.