In the Summer of 2016 it became clear that Livermore was falling behind in the spending required to maintain its roads, sidewalks, buildings, and other public infrastructure. This insight was the result of a determined effort by the Community Asset Management Program committee, established to determine the state of our assets and what it would take to maintain them.
The general message since that time, is that Livermore is drastically underspending, with many ideas on what to do but no concrete solutions. It should come as no surprise that the first proposal would be a new tax increase. Council decided in 2022 to spend $95,000 on a poll that showed such a plan would fail at the ballot. There has been no followup since then.
In the Spring of 2021, staff prepared a very articulate powerpoint that clearly defined the problem. Page 3 of the PDF shows that although Livermore spends $10 million per year on maintenance, it needs to spend $40 million. From the document:
• Repair/Replace ALL Assets- $40 million per year
• Current Spending on Asset Repair and Replacement- $10 million per year
• Minimum Level of Service (High Risk Only) – $20 million per year
Thus, a $30 million per year deficit.
The longer PowerPoint version of the Spring 2021 presentation puts it more bluntly on Page 39 (notes section):
So, we’ve established that we need at least $30M/year. This is way too much to simply shift existing City budget dollars around.
If Livermore does not increase funding, infrastructure citywide will slowly grind down and deteriorate. This is an “off the books” deficit, so it is easily ignored or forgotten by the people responsible for closing the budget gap. We encourage everyone to read through the information on livermoreassets.net/documents and research for yourself in greater detail. We find it eye opening, and alarming.
There is a viable solution
All of the money necessary to close the budget gap exists unspent, in the form of Livermore sales taxes that are being held for the Valley Link Train construction. The train has other funding sources too, but it is not clear it will be built. CBG is on record as expecting it will NOT be built, due to a number of factors. We recommend that those $20 million per year of sales taxes be redirected toward Livermore’s deficit using standard legislative procedures.