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Department of Finance

Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Budget

Fiscal Year 2011 Adopted Budget Cover Page

A Message From Mayor Sanders

To my fellow San Diegans,

I present this document, the City's Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2011, knowing that it addresses our citizens' fundamental needs while preserving the important financial reforms that will sustain the integrity of our City as we confront the challenges posed by a weak national economy.

With the ethical clouds from past administrations lifted, and a positive assessment from the SEC independent consultant regarding our financial practices, San Diego's most pressing problem is its structural deficit - the imbalance between the cost of services the public currently receives from their City and the revenues that sustain it.

The structural deficit was masked by previous administrations through the use of unsound financial gimmicks, and it has been exacerbated by the economic downturn. But answers lie within our reach and I am committed to bringing them forward to you within the coming year. I believe that by working together we can resolve this difficult problem.

This budget lays the foundation for that moment. It reduces the structural deficit and builds on previous actions by this Administration and City Council to reduce costs and streamline government. Through OneSD, the City's new information system, we are expanding the reforms on how we do business. We are budgeting and monitoring the City's costs with greater accuracy and depth than previously possible, enhancing our ability to identify taxpayer savings.

I have worked successfully with my management team to develop a spending plan that safeguards services; fully funds the City's annual pension payment; preserves current reserve balances, including the General Fund reserve and the critical Public Liability Fund reserve; continues to clear the backlog of deferred capital projects left by previous administrations; and closes a projected General Fund budget deficit of approximately $33.0 million.

The total adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is $2.76 billion. This includes $1.10 billion for General Fund operations and $1.36 billion for operations of the City's Enterprise Funds and other fund activities. Another $299.6 million is budgeted for capital improvement projects across the City. A complete copy of the budget is available on the City's website at

Our City will begin Fiscal Year 2011 with a ratio of General Fund employees to residents that is at its lowest level in four decades. As we strive to maintain City services and retain the valued employees who provide them, we also remain committed to addressing employee retirement costs in a manner that is equitable to employees and taxpayers alike, and to the principle that providing public services, not employee benefits, are our first priority.

Much of the work that went into this budget occurred in the final months of calendar year 2009, when San Diego faced a projected deficit in its Fiscal Year 2011 General Fund budget of $179 million. The City Council responded to this challenge in exemplary fashion, making tough decisions that included reductions in spending that would carry forward into future budgets. By amending the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget and adopting the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget early, the City Council took responsible steps to address the projected Fiscal Year 2011 budget deficit of $179 million.

Those decisions include public service reductions that were as painful as they were necessary. While no one could be happy with that outcome, it was accomplished without the abandonment of our essential core services, or layoffs to our sworn Police or Fire personnel. And, by acting early, rather than postponing the inevitable, the City Council was able to avoid the far- deeper cuts that would have been necessary this year.

Nevertheless, since the adoption of that balanced budget in December, a General Fund deficit of $33.0 million opened as a result of two principal causes: continued recession-driven reductions in our projected revenues, including sales taxes, the Transient Occupancy Tax and franchise fees; and an increase in our financial obligation to the employee pension system in the form of the Annual Required Contribution (ARC). This deficit was addressed in the final budget without further impacts to public services.

I am thankful to the citizens of San Diego for the input provided to my office on civic priorities and for their insistence on honesty and transparency from their elected officials, an insistence that has galvanized the forces of reform during my time in office.

I believe that this budget embodies the priorities of our citizens and keeps our City on course toward the resolution of our structural deficit.