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State Gives San Diego $6.9 Million In Miscalculated Fees

Mayor Filner says funds should go to public safety

The city of San Diego will receive $6.9 million after the state Supreme Court ruled that counties miscalculated fees for the administration of property taxes, and the funds should go straight into public safety needs, Mayor Bob Filner announced today.

The city learned how much the court-ordered reimbursements would be early this afternoon, the newly elected mayor said at a news conference.

He said San Diego's share will go to funding the capital needs of the San Diego Police Department and Fire-Rescue Department, in a manner to be determined by their chiefs.

The "dangerous level of staffing'' will be addressed next, he said.

Both the police and fire departments need to replace aging communications systems and the fire department wants to build additional stations. The police force has been hit hard by several years of steep attrition rates.

"I had made a promise during the campaign that we're going to do everything possible, every time that we can, to increase the equipment, the staffing levels and the working conditions of our police officers and firefighters, and I intend to fulfill that promise,'' Filner said.

Filner reiterated a previous call for $22 million of the $27 million received in a settlement with San Diego Gas & Electric over the 2007 wildfires to go to public safety. The previous administration of Mayor Jerry Sanders put the money into a fund that pays out damages from claims and lawsuits against the city.

The use of the property tax reimbursements and SDG&E settlement dollars will come up in mid-year budget adjustments at the City Council early next year.

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