SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council on Wednesday began a six-day review of Mayor Jerry Sanders' $2.7 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1 with far less rancor than in previous years.
The city's Independent Budget Analyst, Andrea Tevlin, generally agreed with the mayor's revenue projections in a report to council members, who gathered as the Budget Review Committee. The report expressed concern that reduced housing values could lower property tax revenues.
Sanders, in touting positive economic news recently, gave primary credit to increased sales and hotel room taxes.
He said the budget proposal presented to the City Council was structurally balanced, unlike previous years, when the city faced millions of dollars of deficits and resulting cutbacks that drew hundreds of residents to City Hall to protest.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf noted the small crowd in the council chamber and relatively few public speakers at the hearing.
"It's nice to see us turning a corner and making progress," Zapf said. Michael Zucchet, who heads the union representing the city's white-collar workers, said the mayor's revenue projections are too conservative, based on recent figures.
"The USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators, foreclosures, notices of default - all of those data points - many of them are unequivocally positive," Zucchet said.
The city will also have an extra $10.7 million from a special room tax fund, according to Tevlin. Council members suggested the money could be used to fund a center where the homeless can store their belongings and take showers, pay for lifeguard training or restore an anti-graffiti program.
The budgets for libraries, and parks and recreation centers will be taken up in this afternoon's session.
Thursday's lineup includes Development Services like city planning, transportation and stormwater, public works and capital improvements. The schedule for Friday is public utilities, real estate assets, economic development and purchasing.