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On Election Day, the San Diego County Grand Jury reminded San Diego City Council candidates what’s in store should they be victorious: a fiscal crisis.

In a wide-ranging report on the city’s financial state, the Grand Jury said the city has $7 billion in debts from diverse sources like its retirement plans and aging facilities and roads.

The city is wrapping up another budget cycle this month following months of plugging $200 million in gaps primarily with one-time fixes. Next year’s deficit is estimated at $75 million. Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council have pledged to develop a plan to end the city’s recurring deficits by next summer.

But the Grand Jury’s recommendations are likely to be more draconian than those coming from City Hall.

Some recommendations from the Grand Jury’s report:

  • Consider outsourcing the city’s retirement system or its retirement investment advisors.
  • Lease to private developers city lands in Mission Bay, Balboa Park, Torrey Pines and Qualcomm Stadium.
  • Explore outsourcing the city’s library system.
  • Implement a trash tax and consider outsourcing trash collection.
  • Consolidate city services with San Diego County and neighboring cities.
  • Restore public safety cuts.
  • Hold a formal City Council meeting on municipal bankruptcy with legal and financial experts.

The Mayor’s Office, City Council and other agencies named in the report must respond to the Grand Jury by Sept. 6.


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