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Public Hearings on S.D. Mayor’s Budget Begin Today


The San Diego City Council budget committee begins public hearings at City Hall today to consider the mayor's 2009 budget . KPBS reporter Alison St John has more on cost cutting measures that will erode city services next year.

The Mayor admits there will be longer lines at libraries and cuts in Park and Rec services. He's been holding a series of town hall meetings to promote his $3 billion  budget.

The city council has yet to approve it. 

Councilwoman Donna Frye expressed frustration yesterday on a proposal to fund stricter internal control of city spending, with a goal of maintaining city service levels.

Frye:  I should be able to say "your libraries will be open the same number of hours, your swimming pools will be closed down, your parks will be cleaned half the amount of time and oh, by the way, you can go clean your own bathrooms," and I'm being a little facetious but we are not maintaining current service levels now.

The council's Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin warns that revenues could be lower than predicted, resulting in deeper cuts than the mayor has proposed. She says just because city facilities remain open doesn't mean the services inside will be there.

Tevlin: Buildings are open, parks are open but what's going on with the programming inside the building, which is the guts of the issue quite frankly… But again, I think we need to hear from the community.

Tevlin says without citizen input, the city may not make the difficult choices needed to shore up revenues for city services. For example she says downtown redevelopment could contribute more to pay off loans for the ballpark and the convention center .  

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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