Budget and Finance Committee chair and councilmember Tony Young and his budget-frenzied colleague Carl DeMaio are beginning to see eye to eye on ways to reform the city’s budget process. As the estimated $60-million-plus shortfall for next fiscal year swells to a $100 million gap for fiscal year 2011, Young and DeMaio look toward eliminating inner-governmental inefficiencies instead of raising fees or imposing new taxes.
In an April 30 memo from Young’s office, the District 4 councilmember suggests conducting an audit for all city revenue sources -- including sales, property, and business taxes -- to make sure the city is receiving an accurate amount of revenue from taxpayers.
Also in Young’s memo is a suggestion to transfer responsibility of revenue audits from the city treasurer to the city’s auditor office, savings that Young says will go toward the $100 million shortfall in the 2011 budget.
Another reform measure proposed by Young is to follow up on the advice from the independent budget analyst to save on supplies and services allotted to each city department. (Young estimates the city can save $3 million annually if spending for supplies is monitored more closely.)
Three days after Young issued his memo, councilmember Carl DeMaio issued his own proposed budget (for next fiscal year) in which some of the same reforms were included.
“I am pleased to join my colleague Tony Young in proposing a comprehensive study and open dialogue on ways to enhance revenue streams into the city’s budget,” read DeMaio’s memo. “I have always believed that raising taxes and gutting city services are not the answers to our city’s budget challenges.”
Similarly, DeMaio supports using more volunteers in libraries, reduced appropriations for departmental spending, and a revenue audit.
In DeMaio’s budget, the councilmember identified $22.5 million in savings, balancing the budget without using one-time fees, which is currently proposed by the mayor. Among other budget-cutting measures, DeMaio suggests: eliminating the office of the assistant chief operating officer, asking the city’s redevelopment agencies to pay back some of the money owed to the city, becoming more cautious of hiring new personnel for city jobs, and implementing managed competition and other management-reform measures.
For more on the budget and the proposals from councilmembers Young and DeMaio, visit their respective websites at sandiego.gov.