Not So Fast, Berkeley …
The city of Berkeley has managed to almost eliminate its budget deficit, merely by transferring money out of certain funds and into the general fund. The fact that Berkeley is using "creative accounting" might be of concern to its citizens, but a greater concern is that it appears the city may be transferring money from funds it is not allowed to use for other purposes. From the article in the Suburban Journal (emphasis added):
The second resolution deals with the 2007 budget. The budget was amended to appropriate a transfer amounting to $975,688. Of this total, $279,292 came from the capital fund, $6,227 from the fire equipment fund, $680,169 from the parks fund, and $10,000 from the sewer lateral fund.
The last line is the key $10,000 from the sewer lateral fund. Here is the state statute regarding sewer lateral funds. The relevant part is in the middle (emphasis again added):
3. If a majority of the voters voting thereon approve the proposal provided for in subsection 2 of this section, the governing body of the city, town, village or county may enact an ordinance for the collection and administration of such fee in order to protect the public health, welfare, peace and safety. The funds collected pursuant to such ordinance shall be deposited in a special account to be used solely for the purpose of paying for all or a portion of the costs reasonably associated with and necessary to administer and carry out the defective lateral sewer service line repairs. All interest generated on deposited funds shall be accrued to the special account established for the repair of lateral sewer service lines.
The next statute has similar language regarding collection of sewer lateral bills (emphasis thrice added):
All revenues received on such combined bill which are for the purpose of providing for, ensuring or guaranteeing the repair of lateral sewer lines, shall be separated from all other revenues so collected and credited to the appropriate fund or account of the city, town, village or county.
I would be pleased to stand corrected, but based on everything I see and know, Berkeley is violating the state statute by transferring money out of the sewer lateral fund, into the general fund.