Redwood City Fiscal Update: An Update on Safety and Essential Services in Redwood City
Learn about the City’s financial challenges and share your input
At the end of June, the City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2018–19 budget. Check back here for a series of budget-related blog posts, which will share more information about the City’s budget.
Recently, a local study found that Redwood City residents felt that safe neighborhoods, well-maintained parks, quality libraries and after school programs that keep kids safe are all essential components to a high quality of life.
This blog provides information about the City’s fiscal challenges, ways you can share input about essential services priorities, and where you can learn more.
Planning for Fiscal Stability
Redwood City is currently facing a growing annual operating budget deficit, which is projected to reach more than $12 million annually in five years and continue to increase each subsequent year. In anticipation of this imminent deficit, the City has taken significant steps to match revenues with expenditures. This includes increasing development-related fees, changing City service approaches by collaborating with non-profits and the County of San Mateo, and selectively reducing staffing levels, services and programs.
Despite having taken a proactive approach to planning for the City’s future, the magnitude of the City’s projected deficit means that all City services will be affected. Eighty-two percent of the City’s operating budget is dedicated to public safety, library, and parks, recreation and community services. Cost reductions to balance the budget will affect these vital services.
A Local Solution to Local Needs
The City is assessing various options to address this deficit and limit impacts on essential services. One option the City Council is considering is to place a measure on the November 2018 ballot to increase Redwood City’s local sales tax rate, which is paid both by residents and visitors who work or shop in Redwood City and is not applied to essential goods like groceries or medicine. By law, the State cannot take local sales tax revenue, ensuring that the Redwood City community would be the sole beneficiary of all local tax dollars. Funds would benefit Redwood City’s essential city services, such as:
· Maintaining rapid 911 emergency response times
· Supporting fire, paramedic and police services
· Providing recreation and after school programs
· Continuing library hours and programs
Connect With Us and Share Your Input
The City invites your feedback as the City Council and staff continues to develop a plan for the community. Please take an online survey to let us know your budget priorities by visiting the City’s dedicated web page at www.RedwoodCity.org/FiscalUpdate. This survey closes on July 20. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and helping the City maintain a safe and fiscally stable community together.
Additional Online Resources
If you would like to learn more, see this page for frequently asked questions, background on the City’s budget, and other ways the City is working to address the fiscal challenges ahead.