Whistling in the dark: Berkeley budget woes

Jaime Chong/Staff

A couple years ago, the City of Vallejo went bankrupt, blaming unsustainable costs of wage and benefit packages negotiated with employee unions. Two months ago, Pleasant Hill, despairing of a negotiated settlement with the unions, imposed a salary freeze on its workers and dramatically reduced pension benefits for future hires.
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City maintains shower program for homeless

They huddled under the awning outside the swim center, some clutching half-empty bottles of shampoo, others, half-empty bottles of liquor. They were the homeless of Berkeley, waiting outside the closed pool at Willard Middle School to take their Saturday morning showers. The city has run a daily shower program at
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The collection of waste, recycling and green waste is supported by the refuse fund.

Solid Waste Management Division addresses structural deficit

Though at first glance, the city of Berkeley’s waste transfer station and recycling center look much the same as they always have, the monetary aspects behind them tell a different story. Located in the outskirts of West Berkeley near the freeway and the bay beyond, the recycling center — managed
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Warm water pool set for December closure

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a three-part series on the city budget. Lee Nelson, a retired Rockridge area resident, stood in the shallow end of Berkeley’s warm water pool on a Wednesday evening, his thin hands gripped around a swim noodle, basking in the heated waters. Nelson,
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Senior centers consolidate with new budget

Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a three-part series on the city budget. Theresa Holman would probably be spending her afternoons at home watching reruns of the Oprah Winfrey Show on television were she not at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Holman, 76, started coming to the center
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City Council to consider allocation of unused funds

Some city programs may see several thousand dollars head their way after the Berkeley City Council considers the allocation of $36,000 in general funds at its meeting Tuesday. When the council adopted a biennial budget June 28, it also discussed the placement of $45,000 that was made available after it
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City Council adopts budget to reduce deficit

Efforts to divert about $105,000 in funding from city paving programs to some of Berkeley’s social service programs were unsuccessful when the Berkeley City Council adopted a city budget Tuesday night, though about $36,000 in other funding remains unallocated for the time being. Facing a projected $12.2 million deficit for
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The noble necessity

CITY AFFAIRS: The pension agreement for maintenance and clerical workers is a welcome and necessary compromise.

Public employee unions face criticism across the nation — fairly and unfairly — for their impacts on state and city budgets. That is why last Tuesday’s announcement of a deficit-reducing pension deal between Berkeley city officials and the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 — which represents the city’s maintenance
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This price is right

CITY AFFAIRS: The parking fee increase for the Downtown area is a fair and necessary step to increase economic activity there.

The Berkeley City Council voted March 1 to increase parking fees for the downtown area from $1.50 to $1.75 an hour to help finance the service improvements that will take place under the Downtown Berkeley Property-Based Improvement District (PBID). Though the fee increase comes during an economically difficult time, the
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