SJ Proposed Budget Keeps Its Belt Tightened; Community Meetings Underway

San Jose City Manager Ed Shikada describes the proposedoperating budget as stable but fragile, with a forecast of “flat” over the next five years.

Mayor Chuck Reed  at a budget meeting.

Mayor Chuck Reed at a budget meeting.

In other words, San Jose will need to keep its belt tightened through a series of shortfalls or thin surpluses, and would need a new source of revenue, such as a sales tax, to increase spending for public safety, roads, economic development and neighborhood services.

Branch libraries will continue to be open only four days a week, neighborhood streets will continue to deteriorate and community centers will continue to offer limited activities and programs, with 42 centers still operated by outside agencies in a re-use program.

But there are also some gains in the proposed $1 Billion General Fund Budget and the nearly $2 Billion operating budget. The addition of seven Community Service Officers will bring the total to 28 positions, and four park rangers and three code enforcement officers will be added. The budget also adds $3.5 million for homeless services. The South San Jose Police Substation will finally open as a home for community service officers and as a site for training and recruiting.

All this and more will be presented and discussed at a series of community budget meetings that began last week in San Jose City Council District 3. There are nine more scheduled throughout the city.

The budget, which was released on May 1, follows the direction of Mayor Chuck Reed in his March Budget Message, and proposals by council members. The council will also start work on this budget this week in a series of budget workshops scheduled for May 7 to May 15.

You can watch these meetings live streamed through your computer or on Cable TV Channel 26.