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Budget challenges continue

By Sherri Lightner

District 1 councilwoman

It was great to see so many friends at this year’s Christmas Parade! I also had the privilege of witnessing the first-ever competitive flauta-eating contest.

One of the toughest challenges during my first year in office has been working to resolve the City’s budget issues. City Council carefully considered our residents’ top priorities in approving the mayor’s budget to reduce a $179 million gap in our General Fund. We did not have to resort to closing any branch libraries, rec centers, police or fire stations, and we did not have to lay off any sworn police or firefighters.

I am working to find solutions to restore as many of the affected services as possible. I welcome your suggestions at sherrilightner@sandiego.gov or (619) 236-6611.

Of particular concern to our district is the removal of permanent year-round lifeguards from Torrey Pines Beach and Windansea. We are working to identify corporate sponsorships and other sources of funding to maintain year-round coverage at these beaches.

Unfortunately, the city is unable to fund the fire pits at our beaches, including La Jolla Shores. To save the fire pits for FY 2011, $120,500 in private funding must be raised by April 15. If you are interested in donating to save the fire pits, please visit www.sandiego.gov and enter “Fire Pit Program” in the search box, which will take you to the Web page.

As we continue working to restore San Diego to financial health, we are focused on resolving the ongoing structural problems with the city’s finances.

I have enjoyed serving you this year, and I am so fortunate to be supported by outstanding community volunteers who work tirelessly to improve our quality of life. I look forward to working with you in the coming year and I wish you all very happy holidays!