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Mayor Jerry Sanders signed into law the spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, at a press conference Wednesday, using a resurfacing project in Point Loma as his backdrop to highlight the higher number of road improvements that are paid for in the fiscal year 2007 budget.

He called his budget “honest,” “structurally sound” and “transparent.” The spending plan was “a joint effort” between his office and the City Council, which had the final say, as only two dozen line items were changed among the 7,000 that are included in the budget, Sanders said.

Read about the final budget here.

Sanders also used the opportunity to break some bad news about what the city should expect in the fiscal year 2008 budget. If the budget he signed Wednesday was to stabilize the city’s finances, the tough love would begin next year, he said.

The mayor said he expected revenue growth, which has been booming due to the housing market’s surge, to flatten while payroll costs will grow because of pay raises that are included labor deals that were struck before Sanders took office. The pension and retiree health costs of 2008 are unknown, but another $34 million will be tacked on because of new payroll costs, he said

Sanders also said he anticipated that 500 city workers would be laid off in the next year and that his office is examining pay and benefit levels for all city workers. He said discretionary spending will also suffer because he wants to replenish the city’s thinning reserves , carry out deferred maintenance and improve the city’s water, sewer, fire station and road infrastructure.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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