A pedistrian crosses the street at 90th Ave in East Oakland. Some of the Oakland hills can be seen in the distance.
A pedistrian crosses the street at 90th Ave in East Oakland. Some of the Oakland hills can be seen in the distance. Credit: Amir Aziz

This Saturday, March 20, Oakland residents can attend a virtual summit with Mayor Libby Schaaf to talk about priorities for the next city budget.

During the two-hour online meeting that starts at 1 p.m., Oaklanders will get the opportunity to talk about the services, programs, and projects they want to see funded, as well as what the city should do with the federal COVID-19 relief funds it’s set to receive.

Oakland’s budget legislation process begins in April with forums hosted by the mayor to gather public input. In May, the mayor and the city administrator release a detailed proposal for how the city’s roughly $3.3 billion in spending should be divvied up between different departments. The mayor’s proposal then goes to the City Council for public hearings and councilmembers introduce their priorities and hear again from the public.  All through June, the City Council deliberates on the proposed budget and before June 30, 2021 they’ll take a final vote on various amendments to the mayor’s plan. The budget that will be up for discussion this year will determine how the city spends its money for the next two years, starting July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2023.

In addition to considering the mayor’s proposal and public input, the City Council will also consider a long list of recommendations from the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force, which just finished voting last night on ways to reduce police spending and invest in programs and services that address the root causes of public safety problems.

For those who want to participate, fill out the following online form. The form requires an email address in order to receive the Zoom link for the summit. There’s also a survey you can complete before the forum starts to tell the mayor what your priorities are.

The summit will include several breakout discussions focused on the following topics:

  • Q&A with Mayor Libby Schaaf and finance staff
  • Managing illegal dumping & encampment blight
  • Fixing streets & sidewalks
  • Police services & response
  • Homelessness

Those who fill out the form will receive a Zoom link via email, which you can attend via computer or mobile. 

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.