Friday, April 2, 2010

State of the City: The budget

No real news here.

Tracy’s budget is still bleeding red, and it’ll take some combination of taxes and cuts to balance the city’s checkbook.

But the mayor did have a few things to say on City Hall’s behalf.

One was that the city would have a balanced budget without the freefall of tax revenue. He cautioned, though, that the city also wouldn’t have “right-sized” itself, which I can only guess is politics-speak for “lost weight.”

As a further caveat, Ives said that the tax base is only projected to fall in the immediate short term.

But there was some good to report, from the city’s perspective. Ives gave a lot of credit to the local labor unions, who agreed to concessions fairly painlessly when the unions of many other cities have fought tooth-and-nail to have their cake and eat it too. In Tracy, though, Ives said the labor unions bought into the idea that both the city brass and brass tacks were on the same “team.” At least for now.

Still, that positive doesn’t wholly compensate for the negative. (And conspicuously absent from this debate was any mention of the city’s controversial emergency medical services fee, which will generate revenue for the general fund.)

Basically, Ives painted the picture of a city that’s fiscally damaged but not crippled. Which sounds bad. Until, that is, you consider what some other cities are dealing with.

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