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4 San Diego Uptown News | Nov. 25–Dec. 8, 2011


in Balboa Park, replacing them with All Terrain Vehicles. “We’ve been able to balance the budget year after year, but we’ve been doing that largely at the expense of neighborhood services,” said Gloria, chair of the City’s Budget and Finance Committee. He added that financ- ing infrastructure improvements have been made through bonds. Other needs, however, will be

difficult to address. For example, the new Mission

Hills-Hillcrest library is currently financed by donation, but Gloria said it will be a challenge to fund additional staff and costs associ- ated with opening the library. In an analysis of the mayor’s outlook, which projects no service restorations, Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) Andrea Tevlin notes that the five-year forecast “maintains service levels as they are today.” In her review, Tevlin writes, “Some of the significant service impacts to the community in- clude a reduction in the number of academy classes for police and fire; elimination of 130 police civilian support positions; reduction of lifeguard beach service; elimination of park maintenance and security posi- tions; reduction in swimming programs; reduction in library hours and staffing; and closure of the remaining 15 community service centers.”

The mayor’s outlook isn’t

required to include significant increases in service levels, but it assumes “little to no improve- ment in service areas over the

next five years,” Tevlin wrote. It also assumes no increase in sal- ary or wages for city employees. In an interview, Tevlin called the mayor’s outlook “good news, but not great news.”

“Some of the significant service

impacts to the community in- clude a reduction in the number of academy classes for police and fire”

– Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin

“The outlook is an improve- ment over the past five years,” Te- vlin said. “This is the first time in some time that we’ve been able to show a surplus – even five years out. The caveat is, there are very low service levels compared to 10 years ago. The budget has been balanced through service reduc- tions, and there is no discussion of restoration of service levels in the mayor’s outlook. Service levels have deteriorated. Yes, the budget is in better shape, but

we’re still looking at deficits for the next four years.” Tevlin also notes in her analysis that the forecast doesn’t include the cost of the ninth council district. Tevlin and Gloria both said they worry that other council districts will have their budgets cut to accommodate the new seat. “There are operating costs that go with the creation of the voter-mandated new council district,” Tevlin said. “We can’t pretend to offset those costs by cutting the budgets of other council districts. Voters asked for more representation, not less.” Gloria said he is running a “lean operation” in District 3, and is concerned he could lose a part of his budget. “My staff doesn’t want for work,” Gloria said. “When trust in government is as low as it is, my constituents need to see my staff and I out, and we need to be accessible. The best way to build trust with the public is to get things done.” With service level reduc- tions impacting neighborhoods, organizations like the Hillcrest Town Council play an important role in doing what the city can’t. On Nov. 19, Hillcrest residents, mobilized by members of the Hillcrest Town Council, assem- bled small teams for a neighbor- hood cleanup.

“Communities have seen

direct repercussions of bud- get cuts, and we expect to see more,” said Luke Terpstra, chair of the Hillcrest Town Council. “Groups like ours, in some small way, are expected to pick up the slack. If the city can’t do it, it can’t do it. There’s no sense in beating anyone up over it.” u

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