New Budget Means New Libraries

Chuck Reed released his 2012-13 budget plan Friday, and for the first time in his six years as mayor he finally has the opposite of a budget shortfall.

City staff says there is a $10 million surplus for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, and with that money the mayor said in a statement that he wants to open four libraries and a community center, allocate $2 million to gang prevention programs, and invest in street repairs.

“After a decade of budget cuts, we will likely be able to avoid painful service reductions and layoffs this year, and slowly begin to address some of our community’s top priorities,” Reed said. ‘However, we’re not out of the woods yet.”

The four newly-constructed libraries include Bascom, Calabazas, Seven Trees and Educational Park. The plan also suggests opening the new Bascom Community Center.

While also hoping to set aside money for future years that are projected to feature deficits, the mayor also wants to look into street repairs that focus on a 400-mile priority network of San Jose’s most heavily used roads. 

Because of paycuts and layoffs, the city says the budget will experience “a one-year reprieve.” City staff is projecting a $22.5 million deficit in 2013-14, and there is an additional $105 million in annual road and infrastructure maintenance.

“These ongoing challenges underscore why we must continue implementing our Fiscal Reform Plan,” Reed said in his statement. “While difficult, these reforms are absolutely necessary to maintain the services we’re funding this year, restore additional core services for our residents, and repair and rebuild our deteriorating infrastructure.”

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. I want to commend the Mayor for this part of his budget message which gives our neighborhood hope that we will soon see the Bascom library opened after being shuttered for over 450 days.

    The Neighbors have worked very hard to get his attention and have spoken loud and clear. All those who have worked hard to keep our neighborhood’s need for this library in the forefront should be commended.

    However, the deal is not closed. We must maintain our vigilance to get the five other votes on the Council to support this part of the budget proposal.

    This is just one small part of Neighborhoods First Agenda.  We have so much more to accomplish.  See our website at

  2. This mayor just does not get!  The 10 million dollar surplus is only projected!  You can’t spend what you do not have.  How about waiting a year to see if the projections come true.  If they do not are you just going to close the libaries again or lay off some more employees?

    Chuck states:

    “Because of paycuts and layoffs, the city says the budget will experience “a one-year reprieve.” 

    Oh and pension reform?  How about using some of that money and hiring back a few of the laid off city employees.  Better yet, put the money in the bank.  This council is all about spend, spend, spend.

    How about putting money back in the general fund to replace what you took to give to the RDA.  Heck, how about paying down the huge RDA debt.  Be responsible.

  3. Rick,
    The Mayor presented a plan, not an actual expenditure.  So if there is a $10 million surplus, don’t you know what he proposes to do with it.  Your comment on RDA debt paydown is a valid alternative, worthy of discussion during the budget process.

  4. Again, the Mayor’s priority is NOT public safety… his own Gang Task Force is not a direct public safety, it’s comprised of community services.  Not to belittle the work these folks do, but the reality is that SJPD and SJFD are STILL the most understaffed departments in the nation, per capita for large cities.

    Mr. Reed made a campaign promise to add 100 police officers, instead 66 were laid off.  Now that there is money (presumably) available his actions speak much louder than his hollow words.

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