City of Hayward logoFollowing a period of belt-tightening amid the COVID-19 economic downturn, the City of Hayward is now projecting its brightest fiscal outlook in recent memory.

In a report last month to the City Council, Hayward Finance Director Dustin Claussen said the City forecasts five consecutive years of balanced budgets while maintaining strong reserves, meeting annual pension and related retirement contributions, and allocating millions of dollars in federal recovery funding to homelessness services and prevention programs and other priority areas.

Bolstering Hayward’s coffers for police, fire, emergency medical, maintenance, library and other core municipal services are a faster than anticipated economic recovery and growth in City sales tax, property tax, real property transfer tax, and cannabis tax revenues.

Contributions also came from City employee groups who at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic agreed to take unpaid furlough leaves or forego scheduled pay increases—and subsequently ratified new labor contracts that should allow the City to maintain a 20 percent operating reserve.

The General Fund Reserve is the City’s key measure of fiscal health and resilience.  It can be thought of as a municipal “savings account” that helps ensure local government can maintain services and meet obligations during regular fluctuations in revenues and the economy—and in times of emergency.