Now that California has an official budget, city staffers say cuts to Mountain View are not as bad as originally expected, but the city is not out of the water yet.
In the 2009-10 fiscal year, the state will take $1.7 million from Mountain View from redevelopment funding, which goes to the downtown district. An additional $350,000 will be taken from this same fund the following year, according to Patty Kong, the city's director of finances.
The state also plans to borrow $4.2 million from the city and from Shoreline development property taxes, with the promise of repaying the money within three years. City staffers say that although these hits are tough, the governor's original proposal included taking an additional $2.4 million in gas tax money, which is set aside for maintenance and improvement.
"Nobody is happy about this," said assistant city manager Nadine Levin. "But the real anger was toward the gas tax."
This state's current budget seeks to balance the California's $26 billion deficit by taking money from cities, plus $6.1 billion from public schools and community colleges and an additional $2 billion from public colleges and universities. Medicaid also was hit hard by the budget cuts, and the state will defer paying some state workers by one day, carrying that expense into the next fiscal year.
The League of California Cities has threatened to sue the state for taking money from cities. Last week, city manager Kevin Duggan said he did not think the state "had the legal authority to take funds."
Cities sued the state last time politicians tried to take redevelopment funds, and "the cities prevailed," Levin noted.
"If they found it was not constitutional why are they doing it again," she said. "They must have found another basis to take money."
The council is currently in recess, and Levin said members will discuss how to address the cuts when they return next month. The city already closed a $6 million gap in its budget this year, with $2.2 million of this coming from reserves.
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