SD Sanders Budget, 1st Ld-Writethru
Date: 04-08-2008 12:46 PM - Word Count: 481

SD Sanders Budget, 1st Ld-Writethru
   By JOE BRITTON
   City News Service
   SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Mayor Jerry Sanders will  deliver a proposed $3.3
billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year to the San Diego City Council
on Monday that calls for the elimination of 127 city jobs.
   Despite the job cuts, hours of operation at the city's libraries and
park and recreation centers will stay same next year, but there will be
concessions, such as less-prompt service, Sanders said.
   ``As a result of flattening revenues and increasing costs, including
necessary pay increases for our police officers and firefighters, there will be
some tradeoffs in my budget proposal,'' Sanders said.
   The mayor said his proposed fiscal year 2009 spending focuses on the
``core essential services'' provided by the city.
   ``I wish I had more flexibility in the budget to enhance services in
many of our departments, but I don't,'' Sanders said.
   Libraries are slated to lose 22 jobs; the Park and Recreation
Department's staff would be cut by 58 positions, none of the city's public
pools would be open year-round and there would be no more overnight visits to
Kumeyaay Campground in Mission Trails Regional Park.
   Eliminating the 127 positions would save the city about $10.6 million,
according to Sanders, who says he has slashed 668 positions from San Diego's
workforce since he took office in 2005.
   The proposed budget includes $1.19 billion for the city's general fund,
up 7.4 percent from the current year. The general fund covers most of the
city's services, such as administrative, parks, libraries and public safety.
   The mayor called for about $597 million for police and fire service, up
from $572 in the current fiscal year.
   Public safety spending includes funding for the addition of six code
compliance officers for brush management, $2.3 million for a second fire-rescue
helicopter, and $1.3 million for other new equipment.
   Sanders added $7 million to the Police Department's budget to pay for
new recruits scheduled to graduate from the academy and $894,000 for computers
and wireless devices for officers.
   The proposed spending plan calls for a $161.7 million payment into the
pension plan, $109 million for capital improvement and deferred maintenance
projects, $27.5 million for storm water system upgrades and $10 million for
Americans with Disabilities Act compliance improvements.
   It seeks $50 million to fund a retiree health care trust, and $6 million
for the general fund reserves.
   Sanders's budget also seeks $5 million from the Centre City Development
Corp. to cover debt payments for the construction of Petco Park, a proposal
long sought by Councilwoman Donna Frye.
   The mayor's office has scheduled eight town hall-style meetings on his
proposed budget starting on April 15. The community meetings will be held in
each of the eight council districts.
   The San Diego City Council has until June 30 to adopt the budget, which
takes effect on July 1.

CNS-04-08-2008 12:46