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San Diego City Council To Discuss Use Of Budget Surplus

The City Council will consider today spending some of this fiscal year's surprising surplus to buy the Fire Department a new alert system, hire more police officers, and keep libraries and recreation centers open longer.

Mayor Jerry Sanders announced last month that higher-than-expected tax revenue could bring the city a surplus of $16.5 million by the end of this fiscal year on June 30.

Council members will look at his proposals to spend:

-- $2.7 million to replace the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's aging fire alert communications system;

-- $1 million to establish an emergency reserve fund in the Capital Improvements Program;

-- $1 million to hire more recruits for a police academy class that begins in April;

-- $237,000 to keep library branches open longer; and

-- $63,000 to extend recreation center hours.

The mayor has proposed holding back $8.3 million as a reserve in case the revenue picture changes in the current fiscal year and, if projections are borne out, to apply it toward infrastructure improvements in the fiscal year starting July 1.

The city's Independent Budget Analyst supports the mayor's financial projections and said the surplus could wind up being a little higher.

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