Mayor’s budget-balancing act to be revealed today

Layoffs and service reductions needed to offset a projected $338 million deficit are included in Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed $6.5 billion budget for next fiscal year — which will be unveiled today — according to his office.

At a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the Hunters Point Shipyard, Mayor Gavin Newsom will make public his proposed balanced budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget will then be delivered to the Board of Supervisors, which have until the end of July to review, amend and approve the Mayor’s fiscal plan.

The City faces a $338 million deficit due in part to cuts by the state and federal governments, according to city officials.

To balance the budget, the mayor’s proposal includes service reductions and layoffs, spokeswoman Giselle Barry said.

Newsom’s speech Monday also will highlight his priorities, including the expansion of Healthy San Francisco, the housing program HopeSF and addressing homelessness in The City, Barry said.

In response to the projected budget deficit, Newsom announced midyear budget cuts last November and requested city departments cut salary expenditures and crack down on excessive overtime.

The mayor also asked unions representing city employees to renegotiate contracts and assume up to 3 percent cuts in labor costs — $29 million in total — for next year’s budget, according to Barry. As of Friday, there were only a few agreements with labor concessions.

In May, the Mayor’s Office announced a tentative deal with the Municipal Attorneys Association — which as of Friday needed to vote on the deal — to take five unpaid furlough days during each of the following two fiscal years in order to save $1.4 million per year. Additionally, Laborers 261, representing city gardeners, custodians, and craftsmen, among others, agreed to cut $1 million in training programs. And the 900-member Municipal Executives Association tentatively agreed to have its members — managers in city government — to take five furlough days in each of the next two years to save $7 million total.

“The budget includes some concessions but not all that we would want,” Barry said.

Larger unions such as the Service Employees International Union and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers will come together early this week to revisit making any concessions, said Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council.

“The situation that is being presented by the Mayor’s Office does not look very inviting,” Paulson said, referring to layoffs and cuts.

A deal on the table — which firefighters still need to vote on — would save The City between $9 million and $11 million during the next three years by reducing pay, according to union chief John Hanley.

dsmith@sfexaminer.com

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