On May 21st, 2013, City Council adopted "A Resolution Establishing The City Of Oakland's Budget Process Transparency And Public Participation Policy (12-0424)." The reports are available here.

Major elements of the ordinance:

  • Public surveys "should" be developed "for assessing the public's concerns, needs and priorities" during January-March prior to two-year budget adoption. If a "professional poll" is not feasible, "demographic information should be collected and reported out with the survey results." Prior to release, the Budget Advisory Committee will assess the survey for "bias, relevance, consistency in administration, inclusion of benchmark questions, and ability to assess concerns, needs and priorities." 

  • Five-year budget forecast must be published by February 1 and at least 10 days before the forecast is heard by a Council body. The five-year forecast must be heard by the Council's Finance and Management Committee by February 15. Fact sheets and raw data of the forecast must be published on Oakland's open-data portal (data.oaklandnet.com) within two weeks of Council acceptance.
  • Mayor's proposed budget must be published on data.oaklandnet.com by May 1. By May 15, mayor's proposal must be heard by City Council and fact sheets distributed.
  • Community Budget Forums must be held between May 1 and June 10. "The Administration and Council shall hold at least three (3) Community Budget Forums at varied times in different neighborhoods away from City Hall." 
  • Council budget amendments must be made at least three days before the final budget meeting.

Final two-year budgets in Oakland must be adopted by July 1 in odd-numbered years.

Larry Reid and Desley Brooks voted against the resolution. Reid argued that there hadn't been enough discussion about the ordinance with the community. Video available here. He also told new members of Council that they had been "co-opted" by Kernighan and Schaaf, which Lynette Gibson McElhaney objected to. 

The law came in response to the 2012 budgeting process in which amendments were made during the final budget meeting, preventing public feedback. The ordinance was introduced by Councilwoman Libby Schaaf who, incidentally, has proposed budgets in two budget cycles that have not succeeded. 

News Coverage