Helped by a real estate boom, Oakland will have nearly $30 million more to spend next year than first anticipated, with public safety initiatives at the top of the list, Mayor Jean Quan said Friday.
In releasing her amended budget proposal for the next fiscal year beginning in July, Quan is recommending that the City Council approve funding for two additional police academies, expand the city's gunshot-detection service, increase availability of the Police Department's helicopters and boost funds for the anti-violence initiative Operation Ceasefire.
The two police academies would increase sworn staffing to 722 officers next year -- the highest level since 2010.
The City Council, which has final say over the budget, is scheduled to review Quan's proposal next month.
Last June, the City Council passed a two-year budget that forecast operating revenues of $459 million. But thanks in large part to tax revenue from property transactions, the city now estimates operating revenue at $489 million.
Quan is proposing to better fund several other city services including sewer projects, a jobs resource center and technology improvements. Her proposal also would increase the city's rainy-day reserve.
"We're making good investments in areas that will help grow the city's economy," she said during a Friday news conference. "And we're in one of the strongest economic positions we've been in in a long time."
Quan also said the city will be revising its five-year forecast, which showed the city at risk of falling off a fiscal cliff. That forecast anticipated substantial structural budget deficits and mounting unfunded liabilities stemming from the city's pension obligations and the delay of needed infrastructure repairs. Even without addressing long-term liabilities, the report still forecasts a $27 million operating deficit by the middle of 2015.
City officials said the forecast did not anticipate recent revenue growth. An updated forecast, they said, would be released early next year.
Early voting starts next weekend
The primary election is on June 3, but Alameda County voters can vote early next weekend by visiting downtown Oakland.
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters is welcoming weekend voters from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 31 and June 1.
The office is located inside the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse at 1225 Fallon St., Room G-1, in Oakland. To get inside on the weekend, voters must use the 12th Street entrance to the courthouse.
Poll workers still needed
Are you fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer or Korean?
Alameda County is still looking for poll workers -- especially those fluent in English and another language -- to work the June 3 election. Workers can make between $110 and $190 for their service.
Noncitizens with green cards can now work in certain polling places; otherwise, election workers must be registered California voters.