Last night, the City Council passed a balanced FY13 City Budget. The adopted budget is the culmination of months of hard work from the city finance team, our city manger, Mayor Bob Foster, and the Council's Budget Oversight Committee, as well as important input from the community. While not perfect, the budget protects essential services, invests in infrastructure, and supports important programs for our youth and families.
Here's what I like about the budget:
- We funded a new Police Academy, the first in several years.
- We fully funded after-school programs at our parks, pools and park centers.
- We restored the majority of cuts proposed for the Nature Center and the Senior Center.
- We increased funding for citywide infrastructure projects including our streets and sidewalks.
- We restored important funding for our libraries.
- We continued to invest in important capital building projects throughout the city.
- We made important investments for new technology.
- We restored more than 2 million dollars of funding for Police overtime and gang unit officers.
I want to thank all of the community members who advocated so passionately for these important programs and initiatives. Your advocacy made a real difference.
However, we still face challenges moving forward.
First and foremost, we must continue to press for pension reform. While our police and firefighter unions negotiated new pension plans that are saving the City over $100 million over 10 years, our largest city employee union rejected the same offer. Their decision was extremely disappointing. We need comprehensive pension reform for the long term fiscal health of our city.
Additionally, we still need to address staffing levels in our Police and Fire Departments. The Academies will help, but we are losing many more officers and firefighters through retirement. We must move quickly to ensure that we grow our departments as the fiscal picture brightens over the next few years.
Thanks again for all of your support, ideas, and suggestions.