Taking new approach with budget

Mayor Gavin Newsom warned that more budget slashing is on the way after revealing $45 million in midyear cuts Thursday.

Newsom said he’s already looking ahead to tackle the half-billion dollar deficit facing San Francisco, and he plans to implement a series cuts throughout the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The unusual budget move comes as The City faces a $522.2 million deficit for the fiscal that begins July 1 and was forced to implement the $45 million in cuts to deal with an unexpected deficit in the current fiscal year.

“The [deficit] number is too big this year,” Newsom said. “We are not going to wait to just do another budget at the end of the fiscal
year. We are going to have multiple budgets throughout the fiscal year — in essence, multiple midyear adjustments.”

The mayor said the frequency of the budget changes would come “probably every six to eight weeks.”

Newsom, who said tax proposals should only be a last resort, stressed the need to think creatively, eliminate waste, develop efficiencies and cut down on expenses, which include overtime spending.

Last fiscal year, The City closed a $576 million deficit, but Newsom said this year’s deficit makes it “a much more challenging budget” because revenue sources like federal stimulus dollars are not there and state funding is drying up.

Layoffs also are in short order.

“There will be no layoffs in this round. But I expect there will be in January,” Newsom said.

He declined to say exactly how many jobs are at risk.

Newsom seemed to suggest he did not expect much controversy around the midyear cuts announced Thursday, but anticipated that would soon change.

“We were rather judicious in this round,” he said. “The next round, I can’t promise that. The next round there will have to be some creative solutions.”

The Board of Supervisors budget committee scheduled a Jan. 5 hearing on the midyear cuts.

Budget savings

Mayor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced $45 million in midyear cuts to balance The City’s current fiscal year operating budget. Those moves include salary cuts and revenue boosts.

$7 million —
Public Health Department
•$2 million: Underspending in contracts/programs
•$706,000: Smaller than expected state funding for HIV health services

$6.2 million —
Sheriff’s Department
•$2.5 million: Revised projections for salary overspending
•$2.9 million: San Bruno jail settlement revenue

$6 million —
Police Department
•$3 million: Reduce overtime
•$500,000: Salary savings
•$1.5 million: Staffing changes to reduce holiday, premium pay

$1.7 million —
Fire Department
•$725 million: Sale of 909 Tennessee St. fire station
•$463,000: Reassign 7 acting inspectors to be firefighters

$11.1 million — Miscellaneous savings
•$3 million: Defer County Jail No. 5 project
•$2.9 million: Reductions to various capital projects, materials, supplies
•$1.9 million: Convention facilities debt service savings

Source: Mayor’s Office
 
jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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