Tuesday came and went without resolution as to whether San Diego City Council’s vote Monday on the midyear budget cuts was legal, and time could be running out.

Council voted to save six community service centers and three painters from budget cuts proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders to close a $43 million midyear deficit. The total cost of adding these items back in would be around $600,000 — up to $500,000 for the service centers and $113,000 for the painters, which are from the Facilities Department.

Monday night the Mayor’s Office alleged that the vote violated the city charter because it brought a substantial change to an appropriations ordinance that had already been voted on last week as a budget resolution. City Council President Scott Peters referred the issue to the City Attorney’s Office, which has yet to render a decision.

City attorney spokeswoman Maria Velazquez said attorneys were working on the issue Tuesday, and would likely issue an opinion on Wednesday.

Normally, taking more than a day to offer an opinion on a matter before council is not a big deal. But it could be in this case. The Brown Act, which governs public meetings in California, requires that the public be notified 72 hours in advance of a vote on something like a budget.

If the City Attorney’s Office decides Wednesday that council has to vote again, it could be the case that the earliest vote would be this coming Monday, the day that the new council is due to be sworn in. Conceivably, on Monday, the current council could still vote. If a decision doesn’t come until Thursday, well, then that could leave the decision in the hands of the new council.


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