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Monday Poll: How would you balance Alameda’s budget?

Submitted by on 1, April 4, 2011 – 12:02 am8 Comments

Last week, staffers showed Alameda’s City Council a budget forecast that has the city facing multi-million-dollar budget deficits over the next five years, and City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy said he thinks the city could go bankrupt if major changes aren’t made now. Mayor Marie Gilmore made a plea to residents to help city leaders decide where to look for more revenue – and where to cut costs.

So we’re asking: What do you think?

Should the council raise existing taxes or existing fees or put a new parcel tax on the ballot for public safety? Or should they cut salaries, lay off city staff, cut services? What do you consider core services: Library? Parks? Public safety?

Let us know by answering the questions in today’s poll. And feel free to expand on your answers in the comments section below.

8 Comments »

  • Ben says:

    Maybe I’m still facing a bit of sticker shock, having just moved down here from Seattle, but I don’t think any part of this state needs to raise taxes. My state taxes and fees burden has more than doubled moving here (married renter), and the cities (and state) are in much worse financial trouble. It’s ludicrous. They need to get their budget in line and stop putting a band-aid on it in the form of tax increases.

  • hobnob says:

    The state of CA has a major spending problem, this is why we’re in this predicament. Nobody ever saves for a rainy day. The recession has just made things worse as the overall economy and people are in more need of gov’t services then ever.

    The govenor raised the sales tax and income tax to try and “balance the CA budget” and that failed, now Jerry Brown is trying to raise it again for 5 years to “balance the budget”… seems silly to me that we’d vote for it again when the people we voted in clearly showcased that they can’t be trusted to handle our money.

    I would veto any raised taxes or parcel taxes in Alameda. I think Alameda needs to cut spending/benefits and try to increase revenue… it’s not just 1 or the other, it’s a combination of everything proposed. Putting a bandaid on the issue and hoping for a miracle will not fix it.

    Add a theatre tax, increase the meters and parking lot $$$ (50 cents/hour in some areas and $1/hour on park street is cheap. Even if you increase it $1/hour globally and $1.50/hour on park st, that is still cheap)…

  • Tom Schweich says:

    1. Talk about the total budget instead of the General Fund budget.
    1a. Special fund budgets should contribute to the General Fund budget to the extent that they utilize services provided from the General Fund, e.g., Police and Fire Services
    2. Increase economic activity in Alameda.
    2a. Get over the traffic concerns that prevented Target from opening at South Shore and gave us a Ross instead.
    2b. Make Park Street a pedestrian mall from Lincoln to Encinal. Take over the Longs lot by eminent domain (it looks like blight to me), and extend the parking garage.
    3. Convert city employee pensions to 401K’s from defined benefit plans, and require a modest contribution to medical insurance. That’s what happened to most of us in private industry.

  • Barbara says:

    I have no problem with bankruptcy. This should teach the democratic machine (not Democrats) to choose wisely next time, but I do not think this democratic machine cares about Democrats and others. Power is more gratifying, and they will squeeze everything from people before they will be forced out. Alameda will eventually learn hard way. Taxes? NO, NO, NO…

  • Neal_J says:

    http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/City-Hall/Calendar-of-Events?id=1168&a=20110329

    First, some facts per the Kevins’ recent PowerPoint presentation to the City Council (link above):

    * The City’s annual budget is roughly $70 million.

    * 70% of the annual budget or roughly $50 million goes toward public safety (i.e., police & fire)

    * The remaining 30% of the budget, roughly $20 million, represents all other City services (i.e., administration, public works, parks, etc.)

    * The projected annual deficit is roughly $12 million or 17% of the total annual budget.

    Now the conclusions:

    Perhaps the City can pure administration by 60% and avoid touching public safety.

    More likely is that police & fire will need to take accept a reduction for their fair share (which, proportionally, is $8.5 million). Watch the police & fire unions fight that concept TOOTH & NAIL.

    Long story short, Alameda and other cities cannot afford the cost of post-retirement costs for public safety atop that the cost of the current workforce. It’s the same dynamic that killed the U.S. auto industry.

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