Oakland budget crisis worse than expected

December 23, 2008 7:06:48 PM PST
The budget crisis in Oakland is much worse than earlier reported.

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.