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Community Groups Want More Say In San Diego Budget

Aired 4/17/12 on KPBS News.

Several San Diego community groups are calling for more public involvement in the city budget process.

— Several San Diego community groups are calling for more public involvement in the city budget process.

The Community Budget Alliance rallied shortly before Mayor Jerry Sanders presented his proposed budget to the City Council today. The council will now begin holding several public hearings on the spending plan.

But Barry Pollard with the Coalition for Neighborhood Councils said the public should be involved even before the mayor begins crafting his budget.

“It’s important that we become designed into the product, which is the budget in this case,” he said.

Pollard said community groups should meet with city departments while they’re crafting their budget priorities before they’re passed along to the mayor’s office. The Budget Alliance is also pushing for a more equitable distribution of city resources among different neighborhoods.

City Council President Tony Young said people who want to weigh in on the city budget will have many opportunities in the coming months. He agreed that budget equity can be an issue. But he also urged those concerned to look at the budget carefully.

"If you don't pay real close attention to the budget, you might have a misunderstanding of where those dollars are actually going," Young said.

For instance, Young said, his district may receive less money for capital-improvement projects, but it also has less public projects that would require such funds.

There is no budget deficit projected for the coming year and surpluses are expected in future years.

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