Fiscal Year 2020–21 Recommended Budget Presented June 8; Revised Budget to be Considered in October
At last night’s City Council meeting (June 8), the City Council received the Fiscal Year 2020–21 Recommended Budget during a Study Session. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there is a high level of economic uncertainty: our local and national economy are driven by consumer behavior, and it is very hard to predict how that behavior will change.
Importantly, while the City Council is required by law to adopt a FY 2020–21 budget before June 30, we expect the budget will change significantly this fall. So, while the FY 2020–21 Recommended Budget is an essential document, it should also be thought of as an interim document. We know that we will need to make significant changes as the economic impacts of COVID-19 become more known, and we know we will need to make changes to the budget in light of evolving community needs and resources. We are listening closely to community concerns, which will help shape proposals that are brought forward to the City Council in October.
We are committed to supporting a strong, innovative and collaborative organizational culture as we strive to meet community needs now and in the future.
We would like to help clarify some misunderstandings and highlight a few key initiatives in the FY2020–21 Recommended Budget.
Parks, Recreation and Community Services
The Recommended Budget does not decrease park and recreation services. Mid-year adjustments to the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department budget will be made this fall to account for grants and other one-time funding, which fluctuate from year to year and are represented in the adjusted budget.
Additionally, we have heard from residents seeking more funding for education, mental health and social services. We value these services too, and we actively partner with the education community, San Mateo County, and scores of non-profit and community organizations to support these efforts. Additionally, the City of Redwood City acts as the fiscal agent and backbone organization for Redwood City 2020, a community collaborative comprised of eight partners, including the City of Redwood City, Redwood City Elementary School District, Sequoia Union High School District, County of San Mateo (Health and Human Services Agency), Sequoia Healthcare District, The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University — Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, and Cañada College. Redwood City 2020’s vision is “that all people living in Redwood City and North Fair Oaks are healthy, safe and successful. We bring our community residents together with local organizations and public agencies to develop and implement a wide range of projects that are focused on addressing acute needs and building on strengths in our community. Our goals are to reduce the impact of poverty, improve the academic success of students, promote community health and wellness, increase community engagement, and enhance safety.”
To directly support the City Council’s strategic priority of meeting our unique community housing needs for people at all income levels, the City is directing approximately $9 million in expenditures to produce, preserve, and protect affordable housing in Redwood City. These include:
· $1.3 million in programing through federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME grants
· $1.7 million for the Habitat for Humanity project located at 612 Jefferson Street, which includes 20 housing units
· $3.5 million for the ROEM project located at 353 Main Street, which includes 125 housing units
· $2 million of housing value from Premia office development impact fees, paid directly to HIP Housing to purchase a 10-unit property to convert to affordable housing
Overall, the City expects to complete City Funding Agreements and Restrictions to complete 500+ units of affordable housing production in the 2020–21 fiscal year.
The City also has strong partnerships with non-profits and service organizations, most notably to assist with social services and homeless programs, including working towards providing permanent housing options for our RV/Motorhome residents.
The Housing Division budget also fluctuates greatly from year to year, dependent upon grant opportunities and funding availability. For example, the City was recently awarded a Challenge Grant from the Partnership for the Bay’s Future (PBF) to work on housing preservation and protection initiatives. The Challenge Grant includes which a two-year management fellow, technical assistance, access to other PBF funding opportunities, and a direct funding allocation to the City’s community partner, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. The estimated value of the Challenge Grant is over $250,000.
The nationwide dialogue on policing is raising important questions about policing in Redwood City. We know there are a lot of questions from the community on our Redwood City Police policies, training, accountability, and, as we heard during the Budget Study Session, on the department budget. We expect there will be multiple opportunities for community dialogue on policing and community services in the future. The first is a Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. but we are also planning for additional opportunities and we hope you will take part. We also invite you to visit www.redwoodcity.org/communitypolicing to learn more about the Redwood City Police Department; this web page will continue to be updated with more information on a regular basis, including a Frequently Asked Questions and use of force statistics section coming soon.
We want to also take a moment to thank you for your engagement with City Council and City administration, and with each other on these important matters; we welcome the feedback and are hopeful the information included in this Blog has been helpful! If you would like to subscribe to the City’s eNewsletter, click here and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, NextDoor and Twitter for other important City updates.