SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Continued revenue growth will allow the city of San Diego to further increase operating hours at libraries and fund most City Council priorities in the upcoming fiscal year, Mayor Jerry Sanders said Wednesday.
In announcing his "May revise" to the city's $2.7 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Sanders said the proposed $1.1 billion general fund will be $12.2 million higher than originally forecast.
As a result, libraries will be open eight hours more per week than this year, instead of five hours more; the Central Library will re-open on Saturdays, the number of police cadets at four academies will total 30 instead of 25, and a second fire academy will be added, the mayor said.
The fire academies will be the first in three years.
Among the City Council priorities met in the revised document:
-- more money was set aside for road repairs;
-- funding for the Commission on Arts and Culture, which provides funding for local arts programs, will be raised 5 percent;
-- the Neil Good Day Center, which gives the homeless a place to shower and make phone calls, will be funded; and
-- a graffiti abatement program was restored.
The mayor, who is departing in December following two terms in office, said it "feels great" to begin restoring services after so many years of cutbacks.
"This is what I ran for ... to help fix the city's financial picture," Sanders said. "I feel really good to be standing up here telling you about all of it, but a lot of people in San Diego deserve the credit for this."
He pointed out members of the City Council, Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone, city employees who have endured a 6 percent salary decrease and changes to their benefits, and residents to receive credit for fixing the city's budget.
The mayor's staff positioned behind him a poster board with five bullet points, all of which began with the word "more."
"We are in a good place, one that is not enjoyed by too many other big cities in this nation," said Councilman Todd Gloria, who chairs the panel's Budget Committee.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said the fact that restorations are being driven by increased revenues shows that council actions to strengthen the local economy and reduce regulations are paying off.
The mayor is scheduled to formally introduce the revisions at a special City Council meeting on Friday. Gloria said he hopes to take a final vote on adoption of the spending plan on June 11.
The San Diego County unemployment rate remained steady at 3.3 percent between November and December despite a loss of 3,500 jobs.
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck offshore in Mexico's Gulf of California on Friday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
Scattered showers and lower temperatures are in the forecast Friday for San Diego County with snow possible in the mountains at gradually lower elevations throughout the day.
Teachers in the Solana Beach School District, who have been without contracts for months, on Thursday pushed for new contracts, but the district is not backing down.
A Ramona man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing tip jars from a half-dozen Poway businesses.
People who take their pets to Del Mar's dog beach wanted to know who planted the incredible garden there.
Local first-responders who put their lives on the line to help victims of the deadly Montecito mudslides were back home Thursday.
A man accused of stabbing a woman to death near an Encanto Park made his first court appearance Thursday.