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The city’s chief operating officer, Jay Goldstone, said today that the city’s budget gap now looks to be around $60 million, though he cautioned that the number won’t be finalized until the city receives sales tax data from the state next week.

I called Goldstone because Councilwoman Donna Frye sent a memo today asking for an updated estimate of the budget gap. Frye had heard that Goldstone told Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin about the $60 million figure. Frye told me that council members should be kept in the loop if the budget gap has grown.

Goldstone said he told Tevlin that the number appears to be growing and it’s in the “neighborhood” of $60 million, though that’s not necessarily the exact amount. When city officials get sales tax figures next week, Goldstone said city officials will pick a final number to craft the proposed budget that will go to the council next month.

The city’s midyear budget report didn’t include holiday sales tax figures. But Goldstone said increased expense requests also account for the growing gap, though not all of them will make it into the final budget.

“Departments have put requests in for some new costs and we’ll be looking at them and making a decision on which ones we can support and which one we can’t,” Goldstone said.

He said city officials don’t typically update council members on budget figures because the numbers keep changing.

“The council will receive a balanced budget in April,” Goldstone said. “That’s all [Frye] needs to be worried about.”

Last month I wrote about the difficulty in estimating the budget gap, which city officials then believed would be $42 million, though still referred to a $54 million figure. At the time, Councilman Carl DeMaio said the city should plan for a $60 million gap.

RANI GUPTA

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