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Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao addresses historical budget deficit

Oakland City Councilmember Treva Reid
Priscilla Ankrah
Priscilla Ankrah KALW
District 7 City Council Member Treva Reid addresses the Budget Administrator

In a lively room at Oakland City Hall, Mayor Sheng Thao and City Budget Administrator Bradley Johnson addressed the seven city council members present.

Speaking to council members, Johnson delivered the grim news: Oakland is facing a historic $360 million deficit.

According to the Mayor’s Office, this deficit was created through the loss of pandemic funding from the federal government, and a decrease in tax revenue from hotel stays and estate transfers.

In order to balance the city’s budget, the Mayor proposed that 2023-2025 fiscal year include consolidations of the city’s Homeless Services and Housing and Community Development Departments; Planning and Building and the Economic and Workforce Development Offices, and the Departments of Human Services and Parks, Recreation, and Youth Development.

These consolidations will be accompanied by a Hiring Task Force, bolstering the human resources department, to ensure, according to Johnson, a streamlined process.

However, the Mayor promised there would be no cuts to existing positions, and to implement a survey on salaries.

I am an immigrant from Ghana, navigating race, place, and being in a time of great possibility and turmoil. I believe in the power of us, and of our collective imaginations, to bring forth a world that fulfills the entirety of our beings. I believe in the power of our dreams. I am a law school graduate and a budding optimist. Forward ever.