San Diego city budget passed, city attorney funding maintained - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego city budget passed, city attorney funding maintained

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council Monday passed a $2.75 billion budget for the city of San Diego for the 2013-14 fiscal year and rejected a cut proposed for the City Attorney's Office.

The vote on the overall budget was 7-2, with Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Scott Sherman opposed.

"The collaboration that has occurred in this year's budget process is something that I think every member of this council, and this city, can be proud of," City Council President Todd Gloria said.

"At the end of the day, we're producing a budget that is protecting public safety by adding to critical public resources and, for the second year in a row, is proposed to actually restore neighborhood services."

Among the additions to the spending plan submitted by Mayor Bob Filner in April are a bonus fund meant to retain police officers -- who have been leaving the San Diego Police Department to nearby agencies in large numbers, an increase in operating hours for libraries and improvements to the visitors center at Mission Trails Regional Park.

The general fund, which pays for basic services like public safety and recreation centers, will be around $1.2 billion for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Faulconer called the budget a "missed opportunity" that he says increases spending by $30 million before any cutting of waste or major restorations in services.

Sherman said he didn't see any streamlining, just an "expansion of government."

Once the overall budget was passed, the council members took up a proposed $1.4 million cut to the office of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, Filner's top political rival in municipal government.

Goldsmith said he needed $500,000 to avoid layoffs in the city's Neighborhood Prosecution Unit, which handles minor offenses without clogging up the court system.

"I firmly believe it's our duty to have adequate legal support in order to protect the taxpayers," Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said.

On a 5-4 vote, the council passed her amendment to provide the funding for the City Attorney's Office. Goldsmith said his office might eventually gain enough money from pending legal settlements to cover the costs.

Council members David Alvarez, Myrtle Cole, Marti Emerald and Sherri Lightner dissented.

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