Mayor to propose $3.6B San Diego budget

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SAN DIEGO -- After months of grappling with a sudden gap between projected revenues and spending, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is scheduled Thursday to release his proposed $3.6 billion San Diego budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

After several good financial years, city financial officials found themselves confronted with a $47 million shortfall, largely due to a much larger required contribution to the San Diego City Employees Retirement System. The jump is the result of decisions made by the SDCERS board in light of retirees living longer and a mediocre investment performance.

In the current fiscal year, the city's general fund -- which pays for basic services like public safety and recreation centers -- contributed around $191 million to SDCERS. In January, it was estimated that the general fund contribution would be more than $237 million.

City department heads were asked late last year to find savings in their budgets, and the City Council in February voted to slow the growth of a primary reserve account from the original 0.5 percent per year to 0.25 percent. Staff estimated that the move would save about $3 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Despite the tightening of the reigns, the city is planning its biggest expenditure on infrastructure this decade, according to the mayor's office.

The new spending plan will be presented to the City Council next week. The council members are expected to comb through the budget in May and adopt it in June.

Faulconer proposed a $3.3 billion budget for the current fiscal year, while planned spending for the year before was $3.2 billion.