Councilman Bates: Layoffs ‘seem certain’ to close Richmond’s budget deficit

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After a closed-door meeting with city officials this week to discuss Richmond’s ballooning budget deficit, Councilman Nat Bates said Friday “it seems certain” layoffs will happen.

During the executive session, City Manager Bill Lindsay presented a tentative plan to address a $7 million budget deficit that is expected to nearly double next year, according to Bates.

“Without revealing the details [from the executive session], it seems certain there will be layoffs to erase part of the deficit,” Bates said in an email blast Friday.

An unexpected drop in tax revenue is blamed for the deficit. To begin to address the shortfall, Lindsay early last month asked all city department managers to slash 17-percent from their budgets, and council passed Bates’ proposal to freeze all hiring except for certain police and fire personnel.

According to Bates, Lindsay earlier this week named three developments that could help the city’s future:

1. The $10 million sale of the Terminal One property for a $150 million development. The sale will “generate additional building fees and property tax,” Bates said, adding, “it is Port property and thereby the Port will reimburse the city a portion of the several million dollars it has borrowed to develop the Port.”

2. The Bottoms/Shea project in Point Richmond will bring in anticipated fees and other revenue.

3. Bates also stated that “several hundred of thousands dollars” in building fees from the Chevron Modernization Project will help.