Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Mayor Sanders releases what he calls the city's first balanced budget in decades
Mayor Jerry Sanders released his seventh and final budget proposal for the city of San Diego.
It includes no cuts to city services, more funding for public safety and a sizable surplus in a few years.
The fiscal health of any big city is often measured by the number of potholes that need to be filled. San Diego has lots of them. This week City Council approved the mayor's recommendation to spend $30 million more to resurface an additional 60 miles of bumpy road. Sanders said the great recession is finally behind us.
"In many ways this recession made us work harder, made us more creative and forced us to deepen our commitment to real and lasting reform," he said.
The mayor's nearly $3 billion budget proposal includes restoring operating hours to city libraries and recreation centers and increasing funding for public safety. Fire Chief Javier Mainar was optimistic.
"One of the big improvements in this coming budget is the replacement of our fire alerting system. It lets firefighters know there's an emergency, where they're going to go. That's been a big detriment to us because it could literally slow us down for each and every response that we have," he said.
The mayor's budget proposal also projects a nearly $120 million surplus in revenue growth over the next five years. Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone says that money could be used down the road.
"With these surpluses then future councils will be able to make the decision where they want to prioritize some of their spending," Goldstone said.
Sanders describes his budget proposal as very conservative and said he stands by his numbers.
"We have a structurally sound budget for the first time any of us can remember. That doesn't mean all of our streets are overlayed yet, we'll be working on those, but it does mean we have a plan in place and we can start restoring those services," Sanders said.
His budget proposal still has to be reviewed by the city's Independent Budget analyst. Then it will be presented to the full City Council for consideration. The new fiscal year begins on July 1.