$3.9 Million Returned to Wetlands Acquisition Fund

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday voted to restore nearly $4 million to the wetlands acquisition fund, which was dissolved by council members months ago to pay for other city programs.

The $3.91 million restored to the fund, set aside to purchase environmentally sensitive land as open space, came from the $3.95 million left over from the 1987 budget--a windfall disclosed last week by City Manager John Lockwood.

At Councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer's request, the city attorney's office will report back to a City Council committee on whether the $3.9 million can be held in an exclusive trust fund.

Wolfsheimer, who wants to create a 43-mile-long park along the San Dieguito River, asked for the exclusive trust arrangement to prevent any other use of the wetlands money.

In addition to the wetlands money, council members also voted Tuesday to use $35,000 from the budget windfall to pay for an additional employee in the city Planning Department to help enforce the mini-dorm ordinance in the State College area. The action was taken at the urging of Councilwoman Judy McCarty, whose district includes the college area.

The city's wetlands fund held $4.6 million until council members went into deliberations this summer over the 1987-88 budget. At that point, council members--at Lockwood's recommendation--decided to use the money for other programs, such as brush removal on hillsides, lifeguard service at Black's Beach, improvements along Mission Bay and street sweeping.

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