CONCORD -- Camp Concord appears to have new life, and the city's public high schools will likely share school resource officers among the campuses as city leaders Tuesday night shuffled funds to ease a $3.5 million ongoing budget deficit.
City Council members leaned toward resolving most of that deficit at the budget discussion, while leaving themselves a hole of about $600,000 to be addressed in future years. The deficit is projected in the city's 10-year budget forecast, but this year's budget will be balanced with the infusion of tax dollars from Measure Q's half-cent sales tax increase.
Measure Q provides flexibility to ease the pain across the next 10 years by spreading out that revenue. However, after the tax measure sunsets there will be $3.5 million more expenses than revenue. The council Tuesday night appeared headed toward eliminating about 80 percent of that structural deficit, but holding off on the final $600,000.
"I think we as a council should not start panicking staff by balancing the structural deficit this year," Councilman Bill Shinn said. "This gives us time to take a breath and see what happens next."
One major issue that appears to be headed toward resolution is the city's school resource officers. Police Chief Guy Swanger had recommended asking the Mt. Diablo school district to pay for the five school resource officers serving five campuses. The district, facing its own financial constraints, told the city it
Meanwhile, Clayton Valley charter school has said it will pay $180,000 for its own officer.
Shifting the tab for three officers will save the city $540,000.
Keeping Camp Concord, a city-run campground near Lake Tahoe, open eliminates the previously proposed $300,000 savings.
City staff is investigating finding a contractor to run the operations. A proposal by Carlos Santana's brother to have the music legend host a fundraiser has hit a snag due to contractual issues, but the city is working on a smaller effort, staff said.
The other major funding that trustees decided not to ax was an economic development analyst costing $125,000. Council members stressed the need to gear up for wooing businesses to the city as the economy improves.
The City Council will make final budget decisions at its June 26 meeting.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.