A budget proposal put forward by three council members who are prioritizing employee raises over increased police funding would plunge Oakland into the red, the city's Budget Director Donna Hom said in a report released Friday.

The proposal from council members Desley Brooks, Larry Reid and Noel Gallo overestimated available revenue and underestimated the cost of their proposals, Hom wrote. If enacted, the budget plan would leave the city with an $8.7 million shortfall over the next two years.

In one case, the trio anticipated Oakland receiving $2.7 million in tax proceeds from the sale of three buildings that are still on the market, Hom wrote. They also budgeted a little over $3 million a year to pay for a 3 percent raise for civilian employees when the actual cost of the raise is nearly $8 million.

Hom wrote that a competing budget proposal from Council President Pat Kernighan would leave the city with a small surplus.

The council, which has until the end of the month to pass a two-year budget, will debate both proposals at a budget hearing Thursday. Both plans make relatively small adjustments to Mayor Jean Quan's proposed two-year, $2 billion budget, most of which goes toward salaries and debt payments.

The plan from Brooks, Reid and Gallo, released last week, raised eyebrows because it rejected Quan's call for five additional police dispatchers and proposed eliminating the city's contract with the California Highway Patrol to help police Oakland streets.


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Kernighan's plan, which had no money for raises, preserved money for the dispatchers and also funded 10 additional civilian jobs in the police department, including investigators, evidence technicians and crime lab specialists.

Oakland employees' bid for raises falters

A city union's attempt to free up money for raises fizzled Thursday during a heated meeting of the City Council's Rules Committee.

IFPTE Local 21 wants the council to change a policy mandating that when taxes on property sales top $40 million in a year, the additional revenue must go to the city's rainy day reserve, or if the reserve is flush, to pay off unfunded liabilities.

Changing the policy this year would free up about $3 million that could be used for raises.

Labor agreements for Oakland's major civilian employee unions expire at the end of the month and both sides remain far apart in negotiations. The unions want their first raises in six years, but the city is asking workers to pay more for health and pension benefits.

The Rules Committee would have had to schedule an initial debate for next week in order to get the tax policy changed before the council's June 30 deadline to adopt a two-year budget, but the four-member board deadlocked. Council members Larry Reid and Dan Kalb supported moving ahead with the issue, while council members Libby Schaaf and Pat Kernighan said the discussion should come after the budget is finalized.

For the second time in the past few weeks, Reid criticized Kernighan's performance as council president. After the measure failed, Reid left the meeting in protest.

San Lorenzo schools chief bolsters staff

After years of efforts to limit spending, soon-to-retire San Lorenzo Unified School District Superintendent Dennis Byas took action this week to beef up staffing and boost supply funding for next school year.

The actions will cost the district $2.5 million annually, plus $317,000 in one-time expenses, district officials estimate.

The largest expense, nearly $1.7 million, will come from the addition of more than 25 full-time equivalent teachers and counselors who will reduce staffing ratios and improve services, officials said.

The district's two largest middle schools will get another counselor, for a total of two, and a part-time counselor will join the sole counselor at the smaller middle school, Edendale. A classified personnel director will also be hired for $150,000 a year.

The district will also double the hours of its school site library media technicians for $150,000, a change that will provide "the opportunity to increase access to our beautiful libraries which are filled with rich learning experiences for every student," Byas said.

In an email this week to staff and the school board, Byas, who will retire at the end of August, wrote, "During the economic recession of the past few years, educational services to students were significantly impacted in many ways. Now that the fiscal recovery is beginning to result in a stabilization of State and District resources, we can finally afford to start the process of rebuilding services for students."

Supply budgets for all district departments and schools will get a one-time 20 percent increase, costing $200,000, plus a 25 percent ongoing increase in funds, costing $250,000 for classroom and other materials and equipment.

The actions come after a deal was reached between the district and teachers union last week to decrease class sizes and increase teacher pay.

The district's reserve this year held more than five times the state's 3 percent minimum requirement.

Hayward city official is put on notice

If there are any accidents involving cars pulling out of a future condominium development on a busy street near Cal State East Bay, a public works official might be hearing from the mayor.

The City Council on Tuesday approved the eight-unit development on Hayward Boulevard, a thoroughfare cars often use to speed down from the hills. During council discussions, Mayor Michael Sweeney expressed reservations that cars wouldn't be able to safely enter and exit the development at 26736 Hayward Blvd.

Morad Fakhrai, public works director for engineering and transportation, replied that access to the development will be safe. His staff will make sure adequate signs and striping are set up, he said.

"So when they're flying down the hill, and you've got a cold engine in the morning and you're pulling out of that driveway, you're going to be OK?" the mayor asked.

Yes, Fakhrai responded, under normal conditions there will be safe access in and out of the development.

"You think there's enough line of sight for folks to slow down and folks to get out safely?" Sweeney said, smiling. "OK, thank you. I know who to see."