Seventy days after Mayor Jerry Sanders unveiled the largest budget deficit in San Diego’s history, the city has balanced its books through June 30, 2011.

City Council voted 7-1 to approve Sanders’ budget proposal to close a $179 million gap with just minor revisions. It added back a horticulturalist position and administrative assistant in the City Clerk’s Office, though up to 200 city employees could lose their jobs under the plan. Numerous employees, particularly civilian police officers, pleaded with the council for their livelihoods over the last week of hearings.

Councilman Carl DeMaio voted against the package, saying it didn’t go far enough to address long-term solutions to the city’s budget woes. The city currently projects a $77 million deficit in 2012.

“While I’m not sure anyone really enjoyed voting on this budget anymore than the mayor enjoyed proposing it, it was reasonable and it got us where we needed to be for right now,” city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone said.

Here is a summary of the major decisions made in the budget.

Rolling shut downs of city fire crews at stations that have multiple units.

Elimination of nearly all civilian workers in the police department. Up to 86 will lose their jobs.

Reduction of branch library operations from 41 to 36 hours a week. Central library hours will be reduced 52 to 44 a week.

Elimination of three lifeguards from September through May at Torrey Pines beach and one permanent lifeguard and four temporary lifeguards from June through August.

Change refuse collection shifts to four 10-hour days, instead of five-day weeks for employees. Trash will still be collected the same days it is now, but the schedules might differ.

Saving $27.5 million — the largest single money source — by deferring payments into the city’s reserves.

Of the cuts, $96.8 are one-time solutions, $82.3 million are on-going, primarily through position eliminations.


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