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Politics

Financial Outlook Shows San Diego's Revenue Will Grow

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Revenues to the city of San Diego are projected to "modestly improve" over the next five fiscal years, while expenses will continue to rise, according to a financial outlook to be delivered Thursday to the City Council's Budget Committee.

The five-year outlook, released annually in November by the mayor's financial staff, projects steadily increasing general fund surpluses through Fiscal Year 2021. The general fund pays for basic services like public safety, parks and libraries.

The anticipated surpluses begin at $200,000 for the next fiscal year, and grow in subsequent years to $7.9 million, $25.1 million, $46.4 million, and $73.7 million.

The surplus predictions include a baseline — reflecting projected revenues along with the cost of maintaining current service levels — plus what the authors call "priority initiatives," which include infrastructure projects and public safety.

The projections don't include factors that occasionally pop up, like increases in contributions to the employee pension system.

"We all know the economy follows a boom and bust cycle, so I believe good periods like this are the right time to plan ahead, save for a rainy day and invest in the future," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

"I plan to continue to put even more of our tax dollars to work fixing streets and neighborhoods, and a growing economy is key to these efforts," he said. "But we must continue to live within our means and practice financial restraint."

Planned infrastructure improvements that are included in the projections include street and sidewalk repair, and storm water upgrades. Public safety spending would go to a computer-aided dispatch system for the San Diego Police Department, and staffing and equipment for new fire stations, among other things.

The city's main revenue sources — property, sales and hotel taxes, and franchise fees — are all expected to climb over the next five years, but the rate of increase could slow in the last couple of years, according to the report.