Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin is recommending that San Diego City Council vote to keep libraries and recreation centers open at least until the city does a comprehensive review of all its facilities. A total of seven libraries and nine recreation centers are slated for closure as part of a package of midyear budget cuts that Mayor Jerry Sanders has proposed to close a $43 million budget deficit.

Tevlin’s recommendations regarding the libraries and recreation centers were among several she issued yesterday in preparation for another council hearing slated for tomorrow on the cuts.

Tevlin also recommends the following:

  • The city consider using money from its library improvement fund help close the gap. The fund, which was established to cover future library expansion costs, currently has $5.3 million available, Tevlin said.
  • Sanders’ proposal to reduce, on a rotating basis, the number of fire crews on duty during a given day be identified as a “temporary” solution through the end of the current fiscal year; and that reductions in police and fire academy classes be identified as “temporary” through fiscal 2010, which begins June 30, 2009.
  • The city institute a mandatory furlough for city employees for the remainder of the current fiscal year and fiscal 2010. Tevlin estimates that the city could save up to $2 million if a furlough program were put in place in the current year. City Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone has said the city already has a voluntary furlough program, and the savings would likely be less than $2 million because employees would no longer voluntarily go on furlough if a mandatory program was implemented.
  • Sanders consider an across-the-board user fee increase in the current year. On an annual basis, Tevlin estimates that a 3 percent-to-5 percent increase would generate between $1 million and $2 million.
  • Save the city’s junior lifeguard program by increasing the fee so it covers the entire salary of the manager who oversees the program.

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