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San Diego Will Review Proposed Budget Department by Department

The City Council today will start a week of department-by-department reviews of the proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

In the morning session today, the city's independent budget analyst will provide an analysis of the overall spending plan, followed by a vetting of the police and fire budgets. The afternoon session, beginning at 2 p.m., will include a review of the proposed budgets for the pension system, City Attorney's Office and special events.

In a report issued last week, the independent budget analyst praised the spending plan for sound financial assumptions, "significant investments in public safety," and a restoration of services that had been cut during the recession.

The agency said the budget proposal did not include enough spending on infrastructure, but concedes that the $1 billion backlog of major construction and maintenance projects "bears no easy solution." The report also says surpluses forecast through the next five fiscal years are "likely optimistic."

The proposal calls for the San Diego Police Department, which would received $417.3 million, to address the attrition of officers, who have been leaving at a rate of nine or 10 a month over the last few years for nearby agencies that offer better pay. Funding is also being made available for cameras that would be worn on uniforms to record interactions with the public.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's proposed $217.7 million budget includes funds for two fire academies in addition to one previously planned, and construction of a temporary station in the Skyline neighborhood, where response times tend to be slower than elsewhere in the city.

The City Council will go through the various municipal departments over the next five days. Some members of the panel are expected to renew their call for a program manager to implement a climate change action plan expected to be adopted later this year.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is scheduled to issue suggested revisions later this month, based on City Council input and updated financial information.

—City News Service

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