FY 2019/20 & 2020/21 BIENNIAL BUDGET
Service Cuts Adopted in Biennial Budget
The City is facing an ongoing budget deficit of $3.5 million per year. Long-term budget challenges have been partly caused by the impacts of low investment returns by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) over many years, which has resulted in increased employee pension obligations for the City. In addition, increases to contractual services and the rising cost of providing city services has also contributed to the City’s budget deficit.
The City has made over $2 million in service cuts, which include:
- Significant cuts to enforcement of city code violations that cause neighborhood blight, such as abandoned vehicles, graffiti and illegal garbage;
- Elimination of community policing services that help address systemic crime, such as neighborhood outreach, community-oriented problem solving, homeless encampments abatement;
- Elimination of the School Safety Resource Program
These reductions have largely been implemented as a result of the City's previous biennial budget.
In April, the City conducted a public survey to assess community attitudes about additional service cuts to fill a $7 million budget gap for Fiscal Years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. The results of that survey can be viewed under Important Resources.
On June 25, the City Council approved the Fiscal Years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 Biennial budget with reductions to community center and library hours and reductions to park maintenance; while, $5.5 million was taken from the City's savings account to help balance the remaining budget gap.
Additional Fiscal Stability Measures
While other city services have faced significant cuts, the City Council redirected its efforts to control the rising cost of its contracted service with the Alameda County Fire Department. Since 2010, Alameda County has increased its costs by 40%, despite the City facing significant budget challenges. An outside, nationally-recognized public safety expert examined calls for service data to identify areas of cost-savings and inefficiency with fire services in Union City. The study's major finding was that Fire Station 30 is heavily underused taking on average 1.7 calls for service per day, with some of those calls serving Newark residents. More information can be found at www.unioncity.org/firestation30.