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Friday, September 22, 2023

Redwood City will present 2023-2024 budget focused on sustainability

Next Monday, June 12, the Redwood City Council will present the 2023-2024 budget with adoption scheduled for June 26, which focuses on financial sustainability while reinventing city services to meet needs.

This was stated by the city council, who specified that the Recommended Budget is based on significant achievements during the last fiscal year and the main priorities, while the transition of the city continues in its financial and community recovery strategy after the COVID-19 pandemic. .

“Ensuring the financial sustainability of City services is a top priority during the upcoming fiscal year. While the City has been projecting deficits for some time, the slowing economy on top of losses from the pandemic requires immediate action to ensure we have the resources to deliver essential services," said City Manager Melissa Stevenson. Diaz. 

"Our goal is to secure Redwood City's financial future and continue to provide the vital services our community depends on," he stressed.

Redwood City maintained essential services during the pandemic largely by vacating employee positions, taking advantage of the City's strong reserve levels and generous infusions of state and federal assistance. 

As planned, they detailed, the projected shortfall of $9.34 million for the 2023-24 fiscal year will be offset by using single designated funds, thus avoiding the need for immediate cuts. 

Yet even after negotiating benefit reforms, paying liabilities, managing costs, seeking grants, and using set-aside reserves to protect services, staff anticipates structural budget deficits averaging $9.2 million over the next eight years.

Stevenson Diaz emphasized the need to generate new sources of revenue to support services, stating that “while we use the resources entrusted to us wisely and are recognized for our high-quality work and innovation, we face significant financial challenges. Important work is underway to increase revenue and avoid service reductions in fiscal year 2024-25."

The City is using a multi-pronged approach to explore new sources of revenue. This could include user fees and tax increases, new taxes, revenue generation from digital signage, and convenience fees for credit card payments. 

The City has received state and national recognition this spring for its efforts to support key City Council priorities. Redwood City is the first city in San Mateo County to win state approval for the housing element, and is in the top 4 percent of California cities to receive a Prohousing designation and nearly a million in additional funding. 

The recommended budget for fiscal year 2023-24 is available at www.RedwoodCity.org/Budget, and can be consulted by whoever wants it.


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