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The Port of San Diego approved its final 2013-2014 fiscal year budget yesterday (July 16), contrasting the good news of revenues returning to pre-recession levels with a continuing increase in operations costs.

In response, the Port plans to cut the number of full-time positions from 558 last year to 531, a reduction of 18 percent from the head count of 649 staffers in 2009 at the recession’s peak. Positions are being reduced through attrition, with jobs being combined as employees retire or move on. Internships are also being slashed by 75 percent.

The Port’s Art Department, which has financed numerous projects in recent years, also faces cuts. It will be combined with the Environmental & Land Use Department, with an expected savings of 50% as compared to expenses in prior years.

Total expenditures at the Port are expected to be $180 million for the coming year, during which the first phase of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, a massive overhaul of the downtown bay front, is expected to be completed. Officials also say redevelopment of the Old Police Headquarters, a 1930s-era designated historical landmark, is on the agenda for the coming year, with “restoration and adaptive reuse of the building, courtyard, and surrounding areas for restaurant, entertainment, specialty retail, and public market uses while rehabilitating its historic features.”

Money will also be allocated for continuation of environmental and educational initiatives, and for 50th anniversary celebrations commemorating the establishment of the five-city district.

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