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September 2, 2009 > Letter to the Editor: City of Hayward is resolute

Letter to the Editor: City of Hayward is resolute

The State now has a budget for the current fiscal year. This budget depends on a number of maneuvers, most disturbing of which is the taking of local revenues to balance the State's deficit. Included in these takes are raids on Hayward's local property taxes for $3.6M this year, from our local resources, for which we at the City must now account. This is equivalent to eliminating 30 police officers or closing our municipal Library. While these reductions are not how we shall manage this, it provides perspective on the devastating impact of these State takes on our local funding situation. The City will once again make the right yet difficult decisions necessary to stay financially stable while doing our best to maintain services.

Back in May, our community's voters heard our message regarding the City's revenue picture and our need to find additional revenues to maintain the basic services we currently provide. The community, and those members who voted for Measure A, can be proud of the fact that we are taking the necessary steps to keep our community moving forward. I sincerely thank voters for their support of Measure A. Their approval saved the City from some very severe budget scenarios. Measure A revenues cannot be taken by the State and is one of the very few of our revenue sources not subject to State raids.

I was prepared, had Measure A failed, to recommend to the Mayor and Council a very austere budget to balance this year's fiscal picture. Cuts would likely have included closure of a fire station, reduction of more than 20 police officer positions, elimination of funding for community and social services organizations, shorter library opening times, further reductions in maintenance services staffing, and other spending reductions. These would have been on top of the 50 positions eliminated last October, implemented employee furloughs, pay concessions and other fiscal actions to reduce expenditures.

Further reductions would have led to a deteriorating quality of life for our residents, businesses and visitors. Hayward residents' commitment to the community will prevent that deterioration and will lead us into the next decade toward a brighter future, a future of which we all wish to be a part rather than avoid. Again, Measure A revenues provide LOCAL revenues that cannot be raided by the State to balance their budget.

Unlike most other City revenues metered out through the State's spigot, Measure A provides a stable, LOCAL revenue source for LOCAL services.

We at the City will continue working hard to deliver the best possible services under extremely difficult financial circumstances, despite the State's problems. The City continues to take a very aggressive stand against any local-revenue takes.

As a community, we are building toward a new vision, one of which we can all be proud. It is evident that our citizenry is ready for a new course. Approval of Measure A, and previously Measure I, the school bond measure that will build five new schools in the Hayward Unified School District, are signs of a desire for change for the better. The City is committed to making these changes happen and, with our citizens' help, we will. More change is on the horizon. We have many unmet needs that require the community's attention. Working together will provide us the ability to improve our quality of life as residents in Hayward. We are off to a great new beginning.

Gregory T. Jones
City Manager

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