Oakland budget crisis worse than expected

OAKLAND, CA

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums told the city council Tuesday the projected deficit for the next fiscal year is now up to $50 million.

Dellums sent the news in a letter preparing the council for budget workshops next month.

The city is already dealing with a $37.5 million shortfall this year, so even deeper cuts are expected.

"We are looking at longer term projects and services we might not be in the business of doing any longer; those are some of the drastic things," Dellums' Chief of Staff David Chai said.

Chai declined to say just what those cuts could be, but did say many short-term measures are already being implemented.

Oakland city offices, for example, are now closed through January 5, 2009.

Only emergency services will be available.

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