Oakland Budget Cuts: 100 City Jobs Lost

City Council Makes Big Cuts, but Keeps Funding for Arts and Senior Program

At the end of a packed meeting that lasted until 2 a.m. today, the Oakland City Council passed a variety of cuts aimed at eliminating a $42 million budget deficit.

Council members voted 7-0, with Councilwoman Desley Brooks abstaining, to cut 100 jobs throughout city departments and eliminate 59 positions that are currently vacant, according to the city records office.

City offices will be closed one extra day each month for the next eight months, except services such as police and fire, and Mayor Ron Dellums will cut $430,000 out of the executive offices budget.

Rates for parking meters and street sweeping violations will be increased.

"We tried to minimize impacts, as well as preserve and protect basic services," City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said today.

"Obviously none of us wanted to make these decisions, but we are required to balance the budget and there will be some impacts."

In addition, elected officials' salaries will be cut by 5 percent, and the council's discretionary fund is being cut by nearly $1 million.

"We believe that we have to share the pain and the responsibility of the budget cuts," De La Fuente said.

The council decided not to cut the $1.14 million used to fund cultural art programs, which had originally been on the chopping block.

Instead, funding for parades, runs and street festivals will be eliminated, according to the city clerk's office.

Hundreds of people packed the chambers during the meeting to plead with the council not to cut funding for various programs such as the arts, senior services and parks.

The council voted to restore shuttle services for seniors, restore funding for the senior literacy program and to keep parks open but with reduced maintenance.

All of those programs would have been cut in a previous budget proposal, De La Fuente said.

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