SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CNS) - The City Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday morning to discuss Mayor Jerry Sanders' proposal to close San Diego's $179 million budget shortfall.
Sanders' proposal calls for the elimination of 500 positions, of which about 200 jobs are now filled.
Sworn police officers and firefighters won't be cut, but the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Fire-Rescue Department budgets will be cut by a combined $44.6 million.
As a result, police equestrian patrols will be eliminated, the number of canine units reduced, code-compliance officers reassigned, there will be "rolling brownouts" at eight fire engine companies and winter lifeguard service will be suspended at Torrey Pines Beach.
Cuts proposed for other city departments will mean fewer library hours, the removal of concrete fire pits from city beaches, reduced beach grooming, less services at sports fields, the closure of some Mission Bay restrooms, delayed vehicle replacements and changes to the days and times of garbage collection.
Sanders' plan to close the budget shortfall also calls for $95.6 million in one-time savings and budget adjustments, including not adding to the reserves, restructuring a payment into the pension stemming from a legal settlement over retirement system underfunding and putting off the installation of fire sprinklers at City Hall.
The projected budget shortfall in fiscal year 2011 has been blamed on declining sales and property tax revenues and investment losses brought on by the recession.
The mayor has called on the City Council to adopt a new budget by Jan. 1, six months before the next fiscal year begins, to be better prepared for anticipated funding gap.
The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall, is the first of three scheduled by City Council President Ben Hueso's office to consider the mayor's proposed mid-year budget amendments. The City Council will also meet on Dec. 9 and Dec. 14, when it will vote on the 18-month spending plan.
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