Councilman Tony Young’s proposal to create a panel to study city revenues has an unlikely supporter in Councilman Carl DeMaio.

Young has suggested creating a committee to study revenue that would encompass Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin’s suggestion to study whether to charge for trash collection at single-family homes or increase stormwater fees.

Young proposed expanding the panel’s focus beyond those specific fee increases, saying City Auditor Eduardo Luna should also look at overlapping government jurisdictions and a comparison with other California cities.

He also said the committee should also evaluate “the city’s current revenue and tax structure in comparison to other major cities and the impact on our city’s ability to be competitive with attracting business, hiring and retaining a quality workforce, and providing quality city services that enhance and improve our communities and quality of life of all San Diegans.”

The focus on making the city more business-friendly has apparently drawn in DeMaio, who wrote in a memo distributed today:

Instead of raising tax rates, city leaders ought to look at economic competitiveness as a way to increase city revenues. Indeed, city revenues increase as the local private sector experiences economic growth, without increasing taxes and fees.

DeMaio’s memo lays out his ideas for the 2009-10 budget. While Mayor Jerry Sanders has advocated using reserve funds to balance the budget, DeMaio wants to use that money for unexpected revenue declines this year or sock it away for the 2010-11 budget.

DeMaio has proposed a number of changes to the budget, including assuming that the city will have more vacancies than called for in the mayor’s proposed spending plan. He also backs a plan proposed by the blue-collar employee union to cut mid-level managers.

DeMaio specifically mentions the office of Assistant Chief Operating Officer Wally Hill, who was recently hired at an annual salary of $185,000 after the city cut four high-level positions in the fall. The mayor has proposed adding an executive secretary to the office and transferring a manager from the Storm Water Department. The proposed budget for the office totals $545,504.

RANI GUPTA

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