Mayor Bates on tackling city’s worst deficit in years

Mayor Tom Bates.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates spoke this week of the challenges of dealing with the city’s worst projected deficit — now running at $16.2 million — as well as facing more state budget cuts.

Addressing a chamber luncheon attended by city officials and community members, Bates said the city is having to eliminate staff positions for the first time — 77, of which 30 are currently filled. Bates said the city is hoping to overcome the deficit through West Berkeley’s  new enterprise zone and the Downtown Area Plan, according to a report in the Daily Californian.

Another concern, Bates said, is working to close the disparity gap within the Berkeley Unified School District, which ranks highest in the nation.

He added that state cuts will present more  financial challenges. “What we unfortunately have to look forward to is this state budget,” he said. “The situation with the city is that we’re at the mercy of the state of California … They’re going to come after us again.”

The mayor’s presentation was not his annual State of the City address, according to Mayor Bates’s chief of staff Julie Sinai. This, she said, will probably be scheduled for sometime in the fall.

Read the full story in today’s Daily Cal.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside. Email: tracey@citysidejournalism.org.