City Council to Vote on Mayor’s March Budget Message

In the past dozen years, San Jose struggled through $670 million in shortfalls—half that total between 2010 and 2012. Layoffs shrunk the city's workforce by a quarter, service reductions closed libraries and community centers and remaining employees took a series of pay cuts. Now the city's looking at a small surplus, $8.6 million, or less than a percent of the total budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

In his budget message going before the City Council Tuesday, Mayor Sam Liccardo proposes opening libraries to six days a week, hiring more community service officers and having the Fire Department take over ambulance service.

We outlined the details of that plan last week—click here to read it.

As usual, the budget message named public safety the top priority. Liccardo says he wants to settle the city's protracted legal fight over Measure B pension reforms, which unions blame for scaring away the San Jose Police Department's new hires and forcing cops to leave for cities with more attractive benefits. Meanwhile, Liccardo suggests hiring 26 more civilian community service officers, allocating $5 million for police overtime and setting aside one-time funding for body cameras.

Other ideas in the budget message include funding incentives to attract new manufacturing companies to San Jose, an office of immigration services, micro-cottages for the homeless, $50,000 for Fourth of July fireworks and adding recycled water programs.

Residents can also expect a tax measure on the 2016 ballot to pay for street repairs and public safety.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for March 24, 2015:

  • The city will consider updating its code to grant more authority to the director of Public Works to streamline procurement and management.
  • New federal regulations require cities to speed up approval of wireless phone towers. The city will consider updating its zoning code in response to the guidelines set by the Federal Communications Commission.
  • To qualify for federal funding, San Jose has to make sure that a certain number of businesses contracted with Mineta San Jose International Airport are woman- or minority-owned.
  • After closing the Blank Club for good, owner Corey O'Brien is ready to open a new live-music venue at the long-shuttered building that housed Angels in the SoFA district. He's asking the city for a permit to open up the new club at 400 S. First St. The building, which has sat empty for eight years, was constructed in 1913 as a car showroom, then converted into a movie theater in 1938.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

22 Comments

  1. *STRUCTURED* defecit… The budget is intentionally set so that the massive Redevelopment debt, Airport remodel, “Special” funds etc. are taken care of- while the General Fund was at a defecit.

    If the goal of SJI is to educate it’s readership, then it’s almost misleading to not mention that the 3 SJ funds are equally funded… One Billion each. The $8 Million could easily be much more, especially with another $1B in reserves. Problem with that, is our elected would have to tacitly admit that they put the City into billions of debt and are now blaming their employees.

    • Serious question , Are they equally funded ? I was led to believe that the General fund was always the least funded ( by design)of the 3 funds. Simply because monies spent out of the General fund , needed voter approval. where as the other funds do NOT need voter approval

      • I really don’t know if they are equally funded. I was referring to Jate’s comments in regards to massive RDA debt and scapegoating the employees.

  2. Apparently Sam understands systemic crime fighting.

    You chase out the vagrants,
    Keep the libraries and community centers open,
    Create opportunities for those that otherwise wouldn’t have them
    Crime slowly goes down.

    Just one critique here Sam, the lack of officers and the dwindling force over the years has given San Jose the moniker of “The golden egg” in crime circles. Over the weekend some new gang I never heard of (they tattoo “4” on their faces) tried breaking into my mother in laws house Saturday morning in Almaden Valley.

    You really need to focus on getting our police back to the pay and pensions they once had. I think short term, beef up the police, long term, focus on community empowerment, and we should be able to get San Jose back in shape in the next 8 years.

    No new taxes. You want more tax revenue? Stop building so many of these apartments with a wonderful view of the freeway along the 85. Build business parks there instead. That “$140″ of tax revenue per resident is because we don’t have a lunchtime/breakfast crowd like PA does. We’re cutting 2/3rds of meals tax because of it.

    Corey, Congrats. SJI, would be nice if you could do a story on what O’brian has planned for the space. It’d be kind of neat if it was the first “Dual Band” venue, with a band in each theatre.

    • It would be nice if you work an 8 hr day, but I have to agree with most of your comments.

      “Meanwhile, Liccardo suggests hiring 26 more civilian community service officers, allocating $5 million for police overtime and setting aside one-time funding for body cameras.”

      (1)great since we don’t have enough officers or call takers to take a simple crime report, we hire under qualified civilians to come document a crime for insurance reasons. (2) we pay to force officers to work overtime due to lack of officers, 5 million could hire several full time officers. (3) one time funding for camera’s? What happens when the funds run out? By the way the current cameras are bulky to wear as glasses, how about going to go pro for a chest camera? Cut the IPA and staff and we could hire another dozen officers.

      And finally, get rid of you silent $100,000+ gang consultant and get rid your buddy consultant Constant off the pay roll because he can’t find another job. Remember he gets his questionable disability retirement plus his council pension.

          • My kids are the only reason I do it, otherwise I’d go back to easy work. I don’t like Di Salvo’s schools. Both my kids go to St Chris, and I plan on keeping them in parochial through college. I figure I can pull about another 5 startups between now and when the last one finishes school, should leave me with a nice nest egg to retire on.

    • Robert: There will be even more houses along 85. The city council changed the zoning back in November 2014 for the iStar property in South San Jose to allow 780 residential units on what was supposed to be a business park. San Jose continues to make the same bad planning decisions converting industrial land to housing that have left the city unable to provide basic services because of its weak tax base.

      • Yup, water can’t handle it, streets can’t handle it, sewers will just make milpitas smell more, we’ll see 50+ kids per classroom, the list goes on.

        I’ve been complaining about this since 2010, along with sky high salaries of some city hall folks. Lesson I learned? These folks own it all, they will use the media as their attack dogs (as well as hiring others) to discredit you.

  3. What happened to , “I’m gonna increase police staffing by 200 officers.” ???

    It appears that Sam realizes that it was easier to say it than it is to actually accomplish it hence, he is adding $5 million into the overtime budget?

    At first glance this sounds like Sam is solving a problem by offering money to SJPD officers who he helped fleece and satisfying a pissed off public who has suffered as victims of crime.

    Here is the REALITY: SJPD is running more than 50 patrol 10 hour paycars per Day that’s 500+man/ hours at time and a half everyday. Let’s say the average 10 hour overtime shift costs the City $750. That works out to $37500/day and will exhaust that $5mil in about 4.5 months.

    This does not even account for all the gang paycars, prostitution paycars, downtown quality of life paycars, Almaden Valley Burglary suppression paycars, Communications Hill Staircase paycars, Homeless paycars, and soon to be rolled out Traffic enforcement paycars!

    More reality: there are so many paycars that many go UNFILLED for the simple fact that officers (as predicted) ARE BURNED OUT with all the overtime.

    …and even MORE REALITY: EVER ONE of these stop gap paycars were once totally UNNECESSARY when SJPD was staffed at 1450 Officers and before traffic, burglary, metro, gang etc…. units were eliminated.

    Doesnt it seem just a little bit ridiculous that taxpayers are being asked to pay 150% MORE for sevices they received before Mayor Reed and Liccardo stepped in to solve the budget problems?

    When will the public hold these crooks accountable?

      • I think there were about 45 overtime pay cars /day just for patrol. I have no idea how many “problem area” paycars there were on a daily basis but maybe 15 -20.???.

        In my last post I totally forgot the Airport Paycars which are 12 hours long and I think there are about 10/day. Those Maybe paid out of the Airports budget and partially funded federally..( not sure though ) .

        My.point is the same . The Airport used to be staffEd as its own division with officers performing a much broader variety if duties at straight – time NOT time -and-a-half!

        Your spread analysis would encompass all OT including en!-of-shift report writing and investigation of calls occurring late in a shift (on days and midwatch ) ….df kesnt really affect swings for other reasons.

        • Keep in mind that $1 million covered the annual salary/benefits/training for 7 officers. Sam’s $5mil = 35 full-time officers for a year or an understaffed force attempting to provide services at 150% normal price for 1/3 of a year…

    • Amen brother, 30 years serving this city and current and previous mayor’s don’t give a lick.

      But our medical is through the roof with many most cannot afford.

      Bob, I do not care to read about your kids (private) schools, start up’s etc. What, you are better than all of us city employees that have served this city. And are now under attack.

      Our city employees are hurting and this mayor is blowing smoke on our retirement.

      • Bob, I do not care to read about your kids (private) schools, start up’s etc. What, you are better than all of us city employees that have served this city.

        Retired.. There used to be a rule on this site that we don’t attack each other, but I suppose that rule has gone out the window.. If you’re going to insinuate I’m a lowdown loser with nothing going on in my life, I’ll fight you everytime. If you don’t want to hear about it, don’t ask, or make insinuations that are a contradiction to the truth.

        At this point, the way you behave towards me, yah, I’m better than you. 1000% better than YOU!!!

  4. Hey boob, love you brother.

    “If you’re going to insinuate I’m a lowdown loser with nothing going on in my life, I’ll fight you everytime. If you don’t want to hear about it, don’t ask, or make insinuations that are a contradiction to the truth.”

    I love have you try to twist my comments.

    You started the attack, but I am better. Love my fellow workers more that you love yourself.

    Time to get back on track with the issues instead of online attacks.

    Be good my friend.

  5. I am loving my new mayor – even tho I voted for the other guy.

    Yesterday I drove Lincoln Ave through Willow Glen; today I bicycled it. Both were delightful and safe. Traffic moved better, and total time, end to end, was maybe half of what I’ve experienced before. The only sour note: UPS and FEDEX insist on parking in the bike lanes, thereby forcing bikers out into traffic. Not too cool; not too safe for us seniors. Besides, the yellow-striped lane was created just for them (and left turners).

    Other ideas of his, “Mayor Sam Liccardo proposes opening libraries to six days a week, hiring more community service officers and having the Fire Department take over ambulance service.”

    So far, very good, Mr, Mayor.

    • Martin: On 3/6/15, I decided to give the slimmed down Lincoln Avenue a try. I turned left onto Lincoln at Minnesota. 13 minutes and 27 seconds later I arrived at the stop light at Lincoln and Willow, where I waited another minute or two to turn left onto Willow. 13 minutes 27 seconds to drive four tenths of a mile! Anyone not using a walker could have walked that distance in half that amount of time. I had let a guy in a pickup truck pull out from Lincolnshire Way into my lane. We all waited and waited. By the time we got to Meredith a couple of minutes later, the truck driver gave up and drove in the double left turn lane at a frustrated high rate of speed all the way to Willow. This configuration is a disaster! I’ll bet when you biked down Lincoln you did not stop due to the red lights.

      • JohnMichael – looks like you made your drive about three weeks before I did. Perhaps you got caught up in the shaking-out process. I suggest you try it again; maybe even on a bike. But be sure to stop at all red lights, just as I do. If I had to guess I’d say it was five minutes at most, both conveyances.

        I don’t avoid Lincoln as I did before. That means the merchants get a little more of my money.

  6. LOL….Martin. You are one funny guy. I bike down the same street…..you are decidedly full of it.