City Council to hear public’s input on budget

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The City Council will hold a hearing Monday evening to take public input on the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Council members already received an earful from the public on Thursday when they looked specifically at the spending plan for the Library and Parks and Recreation departments. Mayor Jerry Sanders proposed halving the hours at each, but received no support from the City Council.

The council is scheduled to hold discussions on the budget tonight, but not make any decisions.

San Diego's total budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is $2.75 billion, with a $1.1 billion general fund, which is where the money for discretionary spending is held.

Sanders closed an estimated general fund shortfall of $73.2 million with $35.1 million in one-time changes to revenues and spending, mainly transfers between funds, and $38.1 million in ongoing adjustments to income and expenditures, like the department cutbacks.

The mayor said the budget does not add to, or take away from, the city's reserves.

He said it was his priority to eliminate the structural deficit, meaning the causes of annual shortfalls, by the time he leaves office next year. Many of the solutions, such as agreements on retiree health care announced last week, won't have an impact on the budget for many years, however.

In an afternoon session, the City Council is scheduled to give final approval to a plan to place the winter shelter for homeless adults in an open lot on Newton Avenue in Logan Heights, close to where it was last time. The San Diego Police Department reported that crime actually went down while the shelter was operating.

City officials hope it will be the last winter shelter they need to run, because a downtown building scheduled for renovation is slated to become a permanent homeless facility.

Categories: KUSI