Balancing Mountain View's budget may require some painful cuts this year, including to the police department, parks and the library, according to city manager Kevin Duggan.
Tonight the City Council will review Duggan's strategy to address the city's $6 million deficit projected for next year, which could grow to $15 million by 2012 without intervention, Duggan says.
Duggan proposes using $2 million in reserves to help close the $6 million gap, with the remaining $4 million coming primarily through cuts. He also proposes new fees for parks, development permits and code enforcement fines. A preliminary list of cuts and new revenue sources are included in the report.
Duggan is calling for residents' help in defining the city's priorities during budget hearings, which are expected to continue after next year's budget is adopted in June. Because the city budget has already been cut several times since the 1990s, there are "very limited options to address this current challenge without significant impacts on service to the public and city staff," Duggan writes in his report. "In essence the less painful actions have already been taken."
The first tier of Duggan's preliminary list of cuts includes staff and service cuts to the library as well as City Planning, Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Mountain View Police departments. (In the latter, only non-officer positions are being considered.)
If those cuts aren't enough for next year's budget, second tier staff cuts would include three police officer positions, along with a deputy fire marshal. The library may be closed one day a week or have hours of operation reduced. The city's high-tech bookmobile -- donated by Google -- would get parked.
And if those cuts aren't enough, in future years Duggan proposes complete elimination of some services in tier three, as well as consolidating city departments and placing some kind of tax measure on the ballot, something Mountain View has not done in many years even as several neighboring cities have.
At least two council members have proposed using the city's above average reserves to keep the city afloat, but Duggan projects that "normal" revenues won't return to the city until at least 2012, and that even then it won't be enough to backfill lost reserves. Duggan predicts that the economic downturn "could be prolonged with only a gradual recovery over time."
The city manager is planning to present a draft of the 2009-10 city budget for review on May 5 before it is adopted in June.
Tuesday night's regular meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 500 Castro St. The study session on the budget follows the regular meeting.