Palo Alto Budget Priorities
This is an unprecedented time, and together we face a series of tough budget discussions in the weeks ahead. Thank you for joining the conversation.
Due to the current public health emergency, the City is anticipating extreme impacts to our local, regional, and state economies, tax revenue, and more. As a result, on May 4, the City Council adopted a set of budget assumptions to help inform how staff will prepare the revised Fiscal Year 2020-2021 operating and capital budgets for Council consideration and community input. The City Council selected scenario estimates with a preliminary loss of $39 million in major tax revenues during the next fiscal year. The assumptions include a shelter in place period through early summer with prolonged economic impacts lasting throughout the rest of the fiscal year, if not longer. In addition, anticipated impacts of continued social distancing such as limitations on travel and a slow recovery of local economic engines such as the downtown core, California Avenue, and Stanford Shopping Center and other related business activities will persist during this timeframe.
The City has established a dedicated budget webpage at www.cityofpaloalto.org/budget for additional resources to stay informed and share your thoughts.
We are in this together and we are seeking community input on the City’s fiscal situation in two phases. The first phase is your feedback on the City’s six service areas and ways you would prioritize these services.
The six service areas are:
- Public Safety
- Infrastructure and Environment
- Planning and Transportation
- Economic Sustainability and Business Support
- Neighborhood, Community and Library Services
- Administration and Government
This initial community engagement will help inform the City Council’s budget deliberations that begin on May 11 through May 13. These public hearings are open to the community to tune in.
Following these discussions, the second phase of community conversations is planned including another online budget survey and a series of informational sessions to learn more about preliminary potential service impacts. These conversations and online input will inform the Council’s discussion on May 26 to review and consider a revised proposed budget. Following this discussion, staff will make any adjustments and return to the City Council for final adoption of a budget in early June.
Thank you in advance for your input and for continuing the conversation with us.
For a list of Council discussions planned and ways to share your input, go here. Other budget resources to inform and details of the first in a two-part series of budget engagement efforts will be available this week on the City’s dedicated budget webpage at www.cityofpaloalto.org/budget.
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