Council's budget chair promotes full funding for libraries, rec centers

The La Jolla Recreation Center faces possible cuts if the mayor's budget plan is approved. Light file photo
The La Jolla Recreation Center faces possible cuts if the mayor's budget plan is approved. Light file photo

By James R. Riffel

City News Service

Councilman Todd Gloria on Tuesday outlined a package of revenue adjustments and spending reductions that he said would allow the city to maintain the current number of hours at library and recreation centers.

At a news conference the day before the City Council delves into the budget that Mayor Jerry Sanders has proposed for the next fiscal year, Gloria said the package uses ongoing resources, instead of one-time cuts, so that services can be maintained "in a fiscally responsible way."

The mayor has suggested cutting library and recreation center hours by

half.

"For our residents who can't afford to buy a book at Barnes & Noble or can't afford a membership at 24-Hour Fitness, libraries and recreation centers

are core services," Gloria said.

He said those facilities in his district, which includes City Heights, Hillcrest and North Park, are among the most-used in the city.

The package calls for:

• increasing anticipated revenues by $3 million to reflect growth in sales and hotel room taxes, a move supported by the Independent Budget Analyst;

• applying income from the sale of the World Trade Center building, which will become the city's homeless shelter, to debt payments on Phase 2 of the Convention Center expansion, freeing up $2.5 million in the general fund;

• cutting discretionary IT funding by $1.5 million;

• reducing funding for workers' compensation by $1.4 million; and

• eliminating flex plan benefits for city management.

The items are options listed in the IBA's analysis of the mayor's budget proposal.

According to Gloria, it was cost an additional $7.4 million to keep libraries fully funded, and an extra $2.9 million to do the same for recreation centers.

As chairman of the Budget Committee, Gloria will oversee the review hearings on the mayor's spending plan. The library and Parks and Recreation Department budgets will be taken up on Thursday morning.

   
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