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City seeking larger budget ax

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Mayor Gavin Newsom is going back to city departments to ask for deeper budget cuts in order to save an additional $40 million.

Newsom is expected to meet with all 52 department heads today to ask them to cut salaries for middle managers and supervisors, travel expenses and money spent on overtime, according to Greg Wagner, the mayor’s budget director. The mayor also is asking for some “common-sense” belt-tightening — such as reducing office supplies, cell phone usage and cutting energy use by 2 percent — according to a memo planned for distribution at today’s meetings.

Earlier this year, Newsom asked all departments to cut budgets by 20 percent to help close The City’s historic $522 million budget deficit. On March 1, each department turned in budgets with money-saving ideas totaling $115 million.

On Friday, the mayor and labor unions tentatively agreed to 12 furlough days for each city employee, which would help save more than $50 million for the general fund. The City also is banking on $20 million in federal stimulus money to help with the budget shortfall, Wagner said.

But all that still leaves San Francisco $195 million in the red, which is why the mayor is again asking departments for more cuts, Wagner said.

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“We are certainly asking our departments to really dig deep to come up with ideas,” Wagner said. “At the end of the day, when you have a $522 million budget deficit, you aren’t going to be able to solve that problem without some impacts.”

Newsom is asking departments to freeze nonessential traveling and cut The City’s $2.7 million travel budget by 10 percent,
according to the memo.

Also, Newsom wants to review all overtime budgets and make cuts across the board. Overtime for employees is capped at 624 hours per year. Last year, 49 employees exceeded the limit, Wagner said.

Newsom has until June 1 to present a balanced budget to the Board of Supervisors for the fiscal year that begins July 1. He has the next two months to consider additional ways to close the budget gap, including revenue increases and delaying spending for capital projects, Wagner said.

“These ideas are only one piece of the puzzle; they are by no means the whole solution to the deficit,” he said. “The City needs to clamp down on day-to-day spending, just like households across the country are doing.”

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

 

Solutions to budget hole

Some of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s suggested cutbacks for city departments include:

$300,000 Travel
$30 million Contract expenditures
$100,000 Washing city vehicles
$231,000 Office supplies

Source: Mayor’s Office

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