The San Jose City Manager has released a draft budget for the upcoming fiscal year that presents a stable view for the City, and offers some opportunity to increase employee compensation. The news of a balanced budget is a welcome result of years of difficult fiscal decisions and cuts.

“We’ve balanced our budget through strategic fiscal reform, modest increases in revenues from a stronger economy, and the very careful management of expenses,” said city manager Debra Figone. “With the improved forecast this year, this budget that holds the line with a limited number of additions to meet critical needs, and it allows for small potential increases in employee compensation.”

Overall, the staffing level would increase by a net 129 positions, from 5,522 full-time equivalent positions in the current year budget to 5,651 positions in the proposed budget. This still would leave staffing at 24 percent lower than San José’s peak staffing level of nearly 7,500 positions in 2001-2002.

The police department would benefit two ways under the proposed budget. First, 21 of the newly funded positions would go to employ community service officers. Secondly, it appropriates money to open a new police substation that has been idle since completion in 2011. With that new substation, the department should be able to provide more efficient services and faster response times.

The budget provides additional good news for residents who will not face any increase in sewer, storm water, or recycling programs. However, there is a recommended increase in costs for the municipal water services as water purchases are more expensive by 8 or 9 percent.

The City will take the proposed budget into the community for a series of community budget meetings throughout the month of May. The Council will ultimately decide the final budget on June 18.