By Robert Haugh
The City budget has taken a hit during the pandemic.
The big question for the Council was to cut or not to cut police and fire services. Most residents we’ve heard from think that would be a bad move.
That sentiment was reflected by the Citizens Advisory Committee. They got a detailed briefing from City staff on March 1. They made three recommendations that their Chair Rob Jerdonek read last night:
- More public input is needed before decisions about cuts.
- Top city management should cut their salaries like Palo Alto. Their top city administrators took a 15 percent salary cut.
- No cuts to public safety.
Four Councilmembers were willing to cut police services rather than use the Budget Stabilization Reserve. That fund is supposed to be for “rainy day” emergencies like a pandemic.
Karen Hardy, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain and Kevin Park voted to cut police funding.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Councilmembers Kathy Watanabe and Anthony Becker voted against the cuts.
But the City Charter requires five votes for budget changes made after the City budget is officially adopted each June. So it failed for now.
It sounds like the City staff is coming back next week with other options including how to get around the City Charter.
Stay tuned for what happens next.