Two years ago, the city of San Diego’s Street Division reported that 100 percent of citizen-initiated potholes complaints were repaired within 72 hours of getting the complaint.

Though that measurement is misleading — the city actually fixed the potholes within 72 hours of sending a crew to inspect them, which sometimes took weeks — the city’s performance is getting worse.

The division aimed to have 90 percent of potholes repaired within 72 hours during the 2009 fiscal year, but didn’t. Crews actually repaired 67 percent within the 72-hour window, city officials said.

Hasan Yousef, deputy streets director, said the performance goal is supposed to measure the capabilities of a fully staffed Street Division. The division is part of General Services, which had 46 vacant positions in October.

Yousef said previous budget cuts have also hurt the division’s response times. In the 2008 fiscal year, General Services had an annual budget of $193 million. In the 2009 fiscal year, its budget dropped to $175 million. The Street Division also lost 20 positions in those budget cuts.

The already slowing response comes as Mayor Jerry Sanders is proposing further cuts to all city services. Sanders has proposed eliminating seven positions and $11.6 million from General Services.

Mayoral spokesman Darren Pudgil acknowledged the slower response times and said people should expect those changes in city services during an economic slump.

“Of course the city is not going to meet the same performance standards during the recession as they would during a thriving economy,” Pudgil said. “We have downsized city government. We have fewer staff today than we probably have had in a decade. That is going to impact, to some extent, our ability to respond.”

— KEEGAN KYLE

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