New city budget is one tough cut after another - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New city budget is one tough cut after another

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  • San Diego budget cuts pass first city council vote

    San Diego budget cuts pass first city council vote

    Thursday, December 10 2009 1:50 PM EST2009-12-10 18:50:19 GMT
    The City Council Wednesday tentatively approved mid-year spending cuts proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders to close San Diego's $179 million budget deficit that will result in about 200 city workers losing their jobs. 
    The City Council Wednesday tentatively approved mid-year spending cuts proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders to close San Diego's $179 million budget deficit that will result in about 200 city workers losing their jobs. 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Ahead of another budget shortfall, the San Diego City Council has tentatively approved spending cuts that were proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders.

At least 200 city workers are expected to lose their jobs, and it's the first time significant cuts have been made to law enforcement. But the mayor says this will help save more jobs in the end.

Well before the start of the new fiscal year, the city council has already approved a budget, hoping a six-month head start will provide more in the way of savings. But closing the $179 million deficit means 500 city positions will be eliminated.

It's the first time in San Diego's history that a budget has been agreed on so far in advance, but it's also the first time law enforcement has been on the chopping block.

No sworn officers will be laid off, but horse patrols in Balboa Park will stop and 40 percent of the department's K-9 units will be disassembled.

"I'd like to have the dogs, but before I walk officers out the door, I'm going to cut where I need to cut and those are the K-9's," Sanders said.

San Diego lifeguards will lose out. Four lifeguards will be cut, but Sgt. Ed Harris says the worst blow is their $350,000 training budget being cut by two-thirds.

"We've had a long history of some pretty bad injuries and we've been able to reduce that with training," Sgt. Harris said.

Wintertime lifeguards will also be eliminated at Torrey Pines State Beach. Sergeant Harris says it's time UCSD - which owns parts of it - provides resources where city lifeguards will soon have limited jurisdiction.

"We would like to ask the college to step up and protect their student surfers that come down and help pay for those services," Sgt. Harris said.

Libraries will only be open five days a week. Parks and recreation areas will continue their normal hours, but won't be maintained as often.

Sanders says in the long run, all of these changes will save money and jobs, but it still doesn't make the cuts any easier to swallow.

"Our revenue is down. This is a recession-driven deficit. It's because sales tax is down, so we're really trying to make up what everybody else in the world is trying to make up," Sanders said.

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