Reed talks budget concerns in SJ's State of the City

February 7, 2013 11:35:20 PM PST
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed delivered his State of the City address Thursday evening with the goal of giving long-delayed pay raises to city workers, especially the police. But are residents willing to tax themselves more to pay for it?

Mayor Chuck Reed laid out his plan in his State of the City address Thursday night. He was quick to set the tone.

"I'd love to tell you that I'm not gonna talk budget tonight, wouldn't that be a pleasant change, but the budget's still our biggest challenge," Reed said.

Even though there is a small surplus this year, it's still not enough to beef up the city's struggling police department. Layoffs, low morale, and pension reform have shrunk the department to under a thousand.

"My priority for the coming year will be public safety," Reed said.

The city's crime rate has gone up. Last year there were 46 homicides -- the highest in 20 years. The mayor promises to add two hundred officers over the next two years. But the police officer's union wants more.

"People are looking for San Jose to pay a competitive wage for police officers, the market rate San Jose pays is much less than you can make at any surrounding cities," said Detective James Gonzales with the San Jose Police Officer's Association."

To really get things back on track, the mayor is backing a quarter to a half cent sales tax.

"In 2014 we can explain to the public if they give us additional revenue we will restore services," Reed said.

"Until we get out of this situation we're in, we need the money," said San Jose resident Edit Boonstra.

There was a small group of people not' on board with the mayor's vision who are still worried about crime.

"He's sitting here saying we're good for business, we're good for business," San Jose resident Shaunn Cartwright said. "Right now the thing that we're good for is murderous business,"

The mayor ended his State of the City address by sharing his long term goals of fixing streets, improving education, and restoring city staffing levels.


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