Another look at the city budget passed last week shows that San Diego’s City Council contributed $25,000 in cuts to their offices toward closing the city’s $200 million budget deficit.
Or put a different way, the council contributed the equivalent of a new mid-level Toyota Camry to a problem the size of 8,000 new mid-level Toyota Camrys.
That’s a lot less than we had originally thought they would contribute.
This $25,000 is 17 percent of the $148,486 I calculated that council offices had offered for cuts when I did this story in early November.
No City Council office ended up cutting its budget. The $25,000 came from the council administration office, which handles general council business.
Three council members, Sherri Lightner, Kevin Faulconer and Tony Young, have lower budgets than all other offices this year. Since no one office cut its budget, that discrepancy will continue next year as well.
That’s not what I reported in November. Council offices told me then they planned to equalize their budget at Lightner, Faulconer and Young’s level.
City Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone told me today the only definitive proposal the Mayor’s Office received from the council was the $25,000 cut to council administration that Council President Ben Hueso identified in this October memo. In that memo, Hueso also mentioned equalizing council budgets. Councilwoman Marti Emerald sent a memo to the Mayor’s Office in early November saying the same thing. But Goldstone said there have been no formal talks about it.
“We’ve not had any discussion that would suggest they might be equalized,” Goldstone said.
Goldstone added the city didn’t need the money to balance the budget — that happened last week — but would put the reductions into reserves if council members offered it.
I’ve contacted Council President Ben Hueso’s Office for more information and will update the post when I receive it.
An update from Michelle Ganon of Hueso’s office:
With an October 30 memo, the Council President offered to align the district 8 office budget with other council offices for this year, a net savings to the City of $32,000. This reduction was not included in the 12/14 budget ordinance, but we will honor this commitment. Those funds may be applied toward midyear revisions, or will be returned to the City at the end of the fiscal year.
— LIAM DILLON