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Back in the 1920s, Colonel Ed Fletcher took his brother in-law to the cliffs overlooking the ocean on his newly purchased land in what is now Solana Beach. Fletcher armed his brother-in-law with a fire hose and instructed him to make a beach access. It took three months to erode the cliffs down to the ocean, making what is now Fletcher Cove, Solana Beach’s main beach access.

Almost 100 years later, the city has a new erosion project: dissolve the city’s growing budget deficit for next fiscal year, which is estimated at $896,000.

On Monday, February 2, during a financial sustainability workshop, city manager David Ott explained the city’s financial status and outlined potential citywide budget cuts to services.

Ott began the meeting by saying the city’s poor financial state is due to a global fiscal meltdown, not one caused by budgetary mismanagement. “I’m sure it’s of no surprise to anyone — whether it’s global, national, or state — we exist in an environment of fiscal emergency. This is not unique to the City of Solana Beach. It’s certainly not because of anything this city council or any previous city council has done. They’ve done a great job of [financial] planning.”

According to Ott, the majority of the projected $896,000 in revenue shortfalls stem from a decrease in property, sales, and other taxes. For the next fiscal year, Solana Beach officials expect a $525,000 decline in property-tax revenues and a $202,000 sales-tax decrease.

Because of the decrease in revenues, the city proposes to scale back services to 2006 levels, including trimming $218,000 from the city’s general government expenditures, $70,600 from community development, $67,400 from public safety, and $22,700 from the recreation and community services department.

Despite the proposed cuts, the city will start next fiscal year off with a $197,000 deficit.

“If trends continue," said Ott, "whether it's revenue reductions or expenditures, things will worsen. And as you look forward, when the economy hits the bottom — which some say may be this year, maybe by fall — we won’t be looking for a quick rebound once we do hit that bottom.”

For more on the City of Solana Beach’s plans to minimize their expanding deficit, go to ci.solana-beach.ca.us.

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diane16 Oct. 29, 2009 @ 5:44 p.m.

Not to trivialize the point, but Eugene Batchelder would never have lowered himself to be armed with a hose and spend three months flushing out the cliff at the now named Fletcher Cove. That would have been done by the poorly paid hired labor, not by the developer's brother-in-law.


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