OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Mayor Jean Quan on Friday proposed a revised budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that calls for spending more money on public safety, including adding an additional police academy that could begin as early as October.
Quan said in a letter to city council members and city residents that Oakland’s economy “continues to grow” and revenues are approaching the levels where they were before the recent recession.
But she said, “The growth is not enough to restore pre-recession service levels due to rising costs” in areas such as health care and employee pensions.
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Quan said Oakland still needs to increase its police workforce, improve road conditions, replace city vehicles and undertake deferred building maintenance.
The two-year budget that the city council approved last summer called for the city to have a $460 million general fund budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and a total budget of $1.09 billion.
Oakland’s revenues are $29.22 million higher than anticipated, so Quan proposes adding that amount to the general fund for a total of $489 million and increasing the total budget by $58.3 million to $1.5 billion.
Quan is recommending adding $2.7 million to the city’s reserve fund, which would give it a reserve equal to 8.5 percent of the general fund, which is above the 7.5 percent level mandated by the city council.
Oakland’s police force has dropped dramatically over the past six years because of layoffs and budget cuts that meant the city didn’t have any police academies for four years.
But the city has been holding police academies again in recent years and Quan is proposing an additional police academy, the city’s 171st, sometime in the next fiscal year and recruitment for another academy, the 172nd, that would be held in the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2015.
The 168th academy, Oakland’s largest ever graduating class, yielded 47 new officers who completed their studies on April 5 and are currently undergoing field training.
The 169th police academy is nearly completed and includes 42 trainees who are preparing to graduate in July.
The 170th academy, with 58 trainees, began about a month ago.
The number of city employees has fallen from a peak of about 4,600 before the recession to as low as 3,680 but Quan is proposing to increase the workforce to 4,010 employees.
Quan will formally present her budget revision to the city council on June 2 and the council will hold at least two public hearings on it before it votes on it.
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