Phil Kamlarz, Berkeley’s long-serving city manager, stresses the budgetary challenges Berkeley faces in the city’s annual report, issued this week.

The city works on a biennial budget cycle, but the stresses of the current economic crisis have meant that the budget is subjected to regular revision. At the beginning of this year, in the middle of the current two-year cycle, the city had projected a $16 million deficit for the 2011 fiscal year. That would have required the elimination of 50 vacant positions and 30 layoffs. Instead, the City Council adopted a balanced budget that saved money without the expected layoffs, largely through a two-day a month service cutback.

The annual report explains that the new budget cycle, for the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years, will begin this fall, eight months before the budget needs to be approved (all the available city budget documents are available on this page).

About half of the city’s budget for the current fiscal year of $324 million (see above) is spent on public works, police and fire.

The annual report also contains information about property crime in Berkeley (40% are “crimes of opportunity”), ranked choice voting, the new recycling split carts, emergency response, and parks and recreation.

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...