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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Bringing The Budget Cut Message To The People

Audio

San Diego’s police, fire, library and parks departments are taking their warnings of possibly drastic budget cuts to the people. City department heads will appear at a series of town hall meetings beginning Monday in University City.

— San Diego’s police, fire, library and parks departments are taking their warnings of possibly drastic budget cuts to the people. City department heads will appear at a series of town hall meetings beginning Monday in University City.

The town hall meetings are being organized by the mayor’s office. During the meetings, the department heads will outline budget cuts they are proposing to fill a potential $72-million budget gap. The cuts may be implemented if the proposed sales tax increase on the November ballot doesn’t pass.

Opponents of the tax increase say possible cuts to public safety are being used as a scare tactic, but Mayor Jerry Sanders says the threat of cuts is real.

“They said that last year and we cut 133 police positions. They said it last year and we cut 50 fire positions and we had brownouts,” he said. “These aren’t scare tactics. We did it last year and we’ll have to cut more deeply this year.”

Sanders said it would be irresponsible to not let people know what services might get cut. Public safety expenses make up about half of the city’s operating budget. But several council members have indicated they will not support cuts to public safety if the issue comes before them.

If passed by voters, the sales tax increase would generate more than $100 million a year for the city. The city would have to complete a series of 10 fiscal reforms before the tax could be collected.

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