If the state decides to borrow property tax money from municipalities to balance its budget, it could resurrect cuts that San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders hasn’t yet brought forward to close the gap for the budget year starting July 1.

Now that voters have rejected the state’s ballot measures, the possibility of a raid is growing as the state faces a $21 billion budget shortfall.

Sanders’ chief operating officer, Jay Goldstone, said the office is still working up a contingency plan in case the state borrows up to $36 million, which would raise the city’s budget deficit to nearly $120 million. Goldstone said he doesn’t know yet what the contingency plan could include.

“It’s too early to tell,” Goldstone said yesterday. “We’re going to go back through the budget proposals that we received from departments prepared for 2010 budget, we will be going back through other suggestions … and we will sit down and start strategizing and prioritizing and bringing something back to City Council for action.”

Last fall the Mayor’s Office asked all departments to propose 10 percent cuts to close a $43 million budget gap. This year, departments were asked to propose 15 percent cuts, though Goldstone said those cuts weren’t much used in the , which relied on cuts to worker compensation and reserves to close the gap.

So if the state does raid the city’s coffers, will San Diegans again be facing the threat of shuttered recreation centers and libraries?

“I don’t know if we’ll look at closures or hours or what have you, but every service, every program, every activity will be open for scrutiny or review,” Goldstone said.

One option city officials across the state have been discussing is borrowing money against the future state repayments in order to minimize their cuts.


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