In about an hour, San Diego City Council will hold a second hearing on Mayor Jerry Sanders’ proposed budget cuts. This gives us just enough time for a deadline post of more reader budget suggestions.

As usual, most have to do with libraries. Here it goes:

  • Charge to reserve books and other library materials. Apparently, this was done in the past. “Let’s say each branch has 20 reserves a day at $1 each at 300 days a year at 30 branches — that’s $180,000,” said freelance writer Randy Dotinga. “Why not make it $2? That’s $360,000.”

Dotinga has more:

  • Increase fines for overdue books.
  • Charge a modest fee for internet usage. “Let’s say you had six customers an hour for seven hours at each branch,” Dotinga said. “That’s $84. Thirty branches times $84 a day, times 300 days is $756,000.”
  • Self check-out machines. “I think the Chula Vista library has this,” Dotinga said. “Why don’t the SD libraries?”

My colleague Emily Alpert had this question:

Could we consolidate the libraries in San Diego Unified — some of which are brand-new facilities built under Proposition MM — with city libraries? It might take some logistical work to keep the kiddies and the public separate, but one of the big complaints in the school district is that budget cuts are threatening to leave those beautiful new libraries unstaffed. Why not join forces?”

And finally, some thoughts from reader Joe Silverman:

My suggestion is more along the lines of a budget cutting strategy. I have some 50 years of bureaucratic experience in municipal, state and federal government. Although the details are different the budget process is generic. Typically, budget cuts are made by people at the top or by analysts directed by those people. Not surprisingly, the deepest cuts are made at the bottom, where the labor costs are cheapest and where the labor interfaces most directly with the public. So, a more rational reduction strategy would introduce cuts where the payoff is greatest (toward the top of the hierarchy). This has the advantage of saving more money while affecting fewer employees, and while still enabling a close connection of government employees with the public. So, for example, how many Rec Leaders = one P&R manager?

See you at the hearing.


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