The morning after the San Diego City Council’s decision to impose contracts on city employees represented by two unions, some council members asked about increasing major fees that would require taxpayer approval.

At this morning’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting, San Diego County Taxpayers Association President Lani Lutar gave a presentation on the city’s finances that showed the city’s expenses rising faster than revenues.

Councilman Todd Gloria asked if Lutar thought the city had a revenue problem in addition to an expense problem. Echoing comments he’s made earlier, Gloria said the city can’t solve its budget problems only by cutting expenses. He asked if the council, which is considering increasing user fees, should also look at the fees charged for trash collection at single-family homes.

Gloria mentioned that Chamber of Commerce leaders voiced a willingness to look at revenue increases if the council adopted the mayor’s contract proposals and asked if the Taxpayers Association would do the same.

Lutar recognized the “significant progress” made last night cutting compensation, but said she couldn’t say when the city would have been considered to have done enough.

“I think we’ll know it when we see it,” Lutar said. Afterwards, she told me she wanted more information about the agreements reached with three city unions to see what concessions the city has made.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald also asked Lutar about whether the city should look at its fees for stormwater pollution prevention, given that the city’s costs to comply with federal and state regulations have increased.

Lutar said the city should wait until it has better results from pilot programs meant to examine the best ways of complying with the regulations.


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