HalfwayToConcord.com Reports that Concord, CA is Set to Gut Social Service Spending

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Once Concord can establish without challenge that its "me first" values of no cuts and full employment without addressing skyrocketing labor costs is more important than investing in a diverse array of community-based agencies delivering a variety of services, then it will be an easy matter for it to justify appropriating every dollar it can get.

http://www.halfwaytoconcord.com, a blog serving Contra Costa County and California, reports that the City of Concord, CA is set to slash funding for social service agencies that assist the poor, elderly, and underserved in its community. Instead the money will go to pay for city budgets and departments.

Media and allied social service colleagues are encouraged to visit the web site for more information at

http://www.halfwaytoconcord.com

Synopsis

Concord City government is ready to slash social service spending according to the Budget Message released by Ed James, City Manager. (See Attachment #3, Item #2) The City Manager indicates that because of high labor costs, including wages, healthcare and retirement benefits, the City must trim the General Fund by $2.5 million dollars per year through FY 2007-2008 to avoid layoffs or service reductions.

The Budget Task Force recommendations include reserving all of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) capital funds exclusively for City-sponsored projects instead of being directed to non-profit or other agency use. For example, current FY 04/05 CDBG capital funds total $604,540. $360,000 has been allocated to City-sponsored programs (curb cuts, etc.) while $244,500 was directed to non-city, social service agencies. In the future, all of the money will be used to staff City departments instead of a portion being directed to competent social service agencies that deliver much needed services to Concord's poor and underserved.

As the city plans to take all of the CDBG capital funds typically directed to non-profit agencies, it also has indicated it will reduce the amount of City General Fund monies it traditionally contributes to social service agencies by $100,000 in FY 2005/2006.

Here is the writing on the wall. Once the City can establish without challenge that its stated values of no cuts and full employment without addressing skyrocketing labor costs is more important than investing in a diverse array of community-based agencies delivering a variety of services, then it will be an easy matter for it to justify appropriating every dollar it can get. In this very likely scenario, the entire FY 2005-2006 CDBG funding for social service programs and the balance of General Fund monies totaling $358,800 could instead be used to fund City department budgets and programs instead of being allocated among our community-based organizations.

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Bill Gram-reefer
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