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San Diego Budget Shell Game

Audio

Aired 6/14/10

San Diego City Council is scheduled to approve its 2011 budget today. But it turns out this year’s budget isn’t balanced yet.

— San Diego City Council is scheduled to approve its 2011 budget today.

But it turns out this year’s budget isn’t balanced yet.

The 2011 budget faces the city council with an unusual dilemma: how to spend $3.8 million in extra revenue created by lower interest rates on debt, and higher employee pensions contributions.

Unfortunately, the other matter on the agenda is how to fill a $7.8 million hole in this years’ budget.

Councilwoman Donna Frye said it doesn’t make sense

"We want to see how the mayor’s office plans to close out the current year's budget," she said,"and balance it before we adopt next years’ budget."

The mayor wants to spend next year’s $3.8 million windfall on storm water upgrades that got cut from this year’s budget.

The council’s Independent Budget Analyst wants to keep the nearly $4 million to cover unforeseen expenses, such as more ballot propositions.

Later this week a city council committee will hear about nine more proposed initiatives. Each measure would cost the city $250 thousand to put on the November ballot.

None of this takes into account that all the city council members want to put at least three fire trucks back in service at a cost of $1.4 million each.

The council is scheduled to finalize this years' budget on June 21. But, by law, it should have this year's budget done by June 15.

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