Will Council Continue to kick the can down the road?

The next City Council Meeting will be at 5pm on June 1, 2021. The packet is here. The agenda includes the Budget for 21/22 and the TRAN!. The Tran paperwork starts at page 61 and the Budget paperwork starts on page 174.

Join Via Zoom 1. https://zoom.us/j/91849369987?pwd=b3FJTGk2WTRaNThTVGVORmxsOVNuQT09

Meeting ID: 918 4936 9987 Password: 922486 or Dial in: 1-408-638-0968

This is a very important meeting and we encourage everyone to attend and make public comment. It is best if you can make it in person but if you cannot you can send it your comment to the city clerk at cityclerk@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us. You should write in the subject line the item number on the agenda 7A for the TRAN and 7B for the financial update and 7C for the 21/22 budget. You can also write in not on the agenda if your comment is for something else.

Please note this meeting starts at 5pm!

A few talking points

A few potential talking points

When is City Council going to demand real data? There are no structural cuts included in this budget. At the last town hall meeting the Mayor requested a list of cuts.

Is the Council okay with waiting until September to even get a list of cuts? That is what was stated in the last FAB meeting.

Is El Cerrito going to make structural cuts or just ride the bailout money for a bit? Is there going to be a real effort to get community response if there are cuts?

Are Council Members confident with the information provided for the TRAN financing?

The 5 year budget shows an immediate decline. Are council members going to continue to kick the can down the road?

One thought on “Will Council Continue to kick the can down the road?

  1. Given what an impenetrable mess this budget book is, it’s very difficult to tell what cuts are included. But it appears to me that the 2021-22 budget *does* incorporate the long-anticipated $2 million reduction (from the “forecast” 2021-22 budget level); in fact the proposed 2021-22 GF level is down from the forecast level by substantially more than $2 million. It’s impossible to tell what accounts for that reduction though, because — notwithstanding that the entire goal of this budget is to cut expenditures down to a level that produces as budget surplus — there’s no coherent presentation of what is cut. There’s just a wild hodgepodge of vague bullet points that lump together things that were cut in previous years, things that will be cut in 2021-22, one-time savings, and deferrals, and without numbers attached to anything. There’s no way for anyone to judge if these are cuts that the Council and community would agree with, no way to consider the impact that they’ll have on service levels to the community, no way to hold the city accountable to actually make planned cuts, no way to confirm how much ongoing (vs temporary) reduction will be accomplished. Maybe there’s a real plan beneath this budgetary handwaving, but there’s no way for the Council or public to tell. And given the long and disastrous history of what happens to El Cerrito’s fiscal condition when leap-of-faith budgets are rubberstamped by a Council that doesn’t understand them, that’s not a risk that we can afford to take. And then there’s the problem that even with the substantial cuts apparently included in this budget, it will turn to a deficit in 2022-23 and beyond unless another million or so of cuts are made. This is just staunching the bleeding; there’s no indication that any structural changes are in the offing that will reduce the rate of growth of expenditures that constantly outstrips revenue growth even with our many new taxes. Lots of work yet to be done.

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