Berkeley City Council is scheduled to discuss funding for a new financial system software and vote on proposed city budgets for the 2017 fiscal year at a meeting Tuesday evening.
The city manager has put forth a proposal to accelerate funding for a new financial system software, according to a statement from City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan, after an audit performed by Hogan’s office found that Berkeley’s current system FUND$ is at risk for fraud.
“This would provide the City with a suite of modern software that will work in harmony to support efficiency and transparency in our work and allow for staff to dedicate more time addressing community priorities,” according to the item proposal.
The replacement will cost $15.1 million and the city’s budget office projects the city is $8.7 million short for the FUND$ replacement, even after a longterm effort to set money aside for the project. Therefore, the Budget Office advises allocating money from the General Fund Reserve to cover the difference.
The General Fund, which receives the majority of its revenue from property and sales taxes, is saved in the city’s “rainy day” fund for emergency, one-time events during an economic recession.
According to Hogan’s statement, though it is designed for these one-time expenses, the General Fund is not intended to fund new or ongoing programs, such as this system replacement. Regardless, Hogan believes this withdrawal is necessary.
“When President (Bill) Clinton spoke of ‘crossing that bridge into the 21st Century’ in 1996, he did not intend that we pack our antiquated systems into our Radio Flyers for the journey,” Hogan said in a statement.
City Council will discuss three different budget proposals for the 2017 fiscal year brought forward by different factions of the council.
Berkeley has “a mega million surplus” this year, said Councilmember Kriss Worthington, and should be proposing a budget that takes that into account.
“If we were in a recession, that is one thing; however, at a time of a multi-million dollar surplus, how in the world could you think that wiping out (funding for nonprofits) is a reasonable thing to do?” Worthington said.
Items on the agenda also include a zoning appeal on Durant Avenue, a short-term rental regulation ordinance, an item on police reforms and emergency funding for a community conservation center.
Worthington said having a jam-packed agenda is an imposition on constituents who come to meetings to speak on an item that doesn’t get discussed.
“We shouldn’t put out a list of things we can’t reasonably cover,” Worthington said.
The meeting will take place Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Old City Hall.