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Money the Big Issue on Tuesday's Council Agenda

Revenues fell short of expectations, report indicates.

Money dominates the agenda in Tuesday’s meeting of the Berkeley City Council, including proposed adjustments to its two-year budget for 2012 and 2013.

The council closed a $12.2 million deficit in fiscal year 2012 and a $13.3 million deficit in fiscal year 2013 by eliminating nearly 80 positions, cutting services, and hiking fees.

But the city’s revenues fell short of expectations this year, resulting in a general fund deficit of $1.9 million. 

Also on the agenda: A $30 million bond measure for the November ballot to fund repairs and upgrades to the city's badly deteriotating streets and watersheds, and a $20 million bond measure to pay for improvements to its pools.

In addition, the council faces costs related to moving. 

The Maudelle Shirek building, named for the former vice mayor and eight-term councilwoman once dubbed “the godmother of East Bay progressive politics,” needs a new boiler, security improvements, sewer lateral testing, hazardous material testing and abatement, and a new elevator control unit.

The Berkeley Unified School District is moving to new quarters at West Campus. And once the district vacates "old City Hall," the city would have to assume operating costs of roughly $36,000 a year. The total cost for the first year has been pegged at $280,000.

The council may move its meeting place, either to the Berkeley City College Auditorium, the Florence Schwimley Little Theater at Berkeley High School, or the North Berkeley Senior Center Multi-Purpose Room.

The estimated cost for the required upgrades range from $280,000 to $350,000. Funds for design costs are available in the current fiscal year’s budget and funds for construction would be recommended as part of the coming year’s budget.

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