Despite budget hit, city better off than expected

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.

Under the new budget, Mountain View will take a hit of $6.2 million over the next two years. But state officials say the majority of this money will be repaid to the city within the next three years.

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.

SEE ALSO: City leaders furious over state money-grab


Like this comment
Posted by Proud Sierra Club Member
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 2, 2009 at 9:49 am

Please do not take any more money from Parks & Rec but make staff reductions through-out the city, including police and especially fire. I’m tired of reading how you pay outrageous salaries and benefits to City Employees then use fuzzy logic to increase fees! Retired Fire Firefighters making $120,000 plus in retirement beginning at age of 51. PLEASE!!!
We deserve better!

Like this comment
Posted by Ah
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Ah another resident that has no clue how well off they have it with high quality employees that this city has. Lower the staffing in any of the departments and lower the salary and benefits you pay these employee equals poor quality of living for you and me. Reduced response time to your families medical needs, more crime with less officers on the street and your parks that you so love will be taken over by alcholics and gangs. Your lucky they are too lazy to walk out to Shoreline Park and just stay in Rengstorff where the rangers and police can monitoring them.

If you want to complain about something complain about "programs" that are just there to make people feel good. Employees playing soccer with kids or Summer Movie Night (hey get a Netflix account) or worst yet...buying a church that is only going to benefit a very very very small few in this community.

Note to those making the decision...can you spend some money on a project that is going to create some funds to the city and benefit the city? How about letting Google make their hotel they wanted to run and the city letting them without all the restrictions. Do you release that if they built that it would be completely booked for almost two years straight just because it is the GOOGLE Hotle or the G or whatever they might call it. Shoreline Concerts would double the number of concerts they could book because there would be an after party at this hotel by the entertainers. If the city things big then they would hiring more police and fire fighters and not worrying about how to cut benefits and how to reduce the tree triming, street cleaning, and street repair schedule. We have so much money that they city could have under passes built for the train tracks even before the super express trains arrive. Just a rant from someone that knows how important a strong employee base is.

Like this comment
Posted by sleep-deprived
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

I have an idea for revenue:
Enact a noise ordinance and collect large fines from violators,
especially late-night noise makers.

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