Council Approves $716-Million ‘Bare-Bones’ San Diego Budget

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The San Diego City Council on Tuesday approved a $716-million budget for 1987-1988, up $77 million from the previous year.

Despite the increase, city officials say the budget is a “bare-bones” approach to municipal business, and that many of the council’s pet projects--such as beefing up the police force--had to be put on hold so other services would remain at the same level.

While the newest budget allows for 29 new sworn police officers on the streets, that is only enough to keep up with the increase in population, said Pat Frazier, the city’s financial management director. The current ratio of police officers for every 1,000 citizens is 1.62, she added.


There won’t be enough money this year to help increase that ratio to the council’s stated goal of 2 officers per 1,000 residents. Had the council continued on its five-year program to reach that goal, it would have taken an additional $8.5 million to pay the salaries of 140 new sworn officers.

Likewise, Frazier said, the council went along with the city manager’s suggestion to use $4.6 million previously set aside for acquisition of wetlands to pay for current city services imperiled by the lack of money. Those services included after-school recreation programs, enhanced library staffing, animal control, Mission Bay park maintenance and clearing fire-prone brush from the city’s hillsides.

The city’s budget cycle runs from July 1 to June 30, but the City Charter allows for the council to approve a budget later than the July 1 start date, Frazier said.