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Strong Mayor, Weak Council

On March 29, San Diego city council showed its budgetary muscle by laying out a number of cost-saving proposals for the mayor to consider when he presents the fiscal year 2012 budget in mid-April.

While the council believes that they should have some authority in identifying budget priorities, they will continue to have essentially no power to initiate changes to the budget after it has been approved.

That was the word from deputy city attorney Brant Will during the March 30 meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee.

"The city attorney's office is fully aware that this is not really the conclusion that some individuals were looking for," said Will. "It is clearly stated in the city charter and there is no ambiguity there."

The deputy city attorney went on to explain that unless changes are made to the city charter, then only the mayor has the power to bring forward midyear budget revisions.

Independent budget analyst Andrea Tevlin expressed some frustration at the lack of progress and the lack of authority for council to make midyear changes.

"We've been working on this for six months now, and we seem to have gotten nowhere," said Tevlin during the meeting. Tevlin stated that the council once had access to an appropriations reserve fund until a recent city attorney ruling said otherwise.

"This is not some wild-haired idea to set up a mechanism for council to be able to access a limited amount of reserves. If we can't find a way to get that authority back then I think we do need a charter amendment."

Councilwoman Marti Emerald agreed. "This is a strong-mayor/strong-council form of government and we need to have that authority to make budget changes when necessary. The issue is brewing. And, this is just a way to level the playing field."

The committee later directed staff to work with the independent budget analyst's office, and the city attorney to return with a draft of the charter amendment.

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On March 29, San Diego city council showed its budgetary muscle by laying out a number of cost-saving proposals for the mayor to consider when he presents the fiscal year 2012 budget in mid-April.

While the council believes that they should have some authority in identifying budget priorities, they will continue to have essentially no power to initiate changes to the budget after it has been approved.

That was the word from deputy city attorney Brant Will during the March 30 meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee.

"The city attorney's office is fully aware that this is not really the conclusion that some individuals were looking for," said Will. "It is clearly stated in the city charter and there is no ambiguity there."

The deputy city attorney went on to explain that unless changes are made to the city charter, then only the mayor has the power to bring forward midyear budget revisions.

Independent budget analyst Andrea Tevlin expressed some frustration at the lack of progress and the lack of authority for council to make midyear changes.

"We've been working on this for six months now, and we seem to have gotten nowhere," said Tevlin during the meeting. Tevlin stated that the council once had access to an appropriations reserve fund until a recent city attorney ruling said otherwise.

"This is not some wild-haired idea to set up a mechanism for council to be able to access a limited amount of reserves. If we can't find a way to get that authority back then I think we do need a charter amendment."

Councilwoman Marti Emerald agreed. "This is a strong-mayor/strong-council form of government and we need to have that authority to make budget changes when necessary. The issue is brewing. And, this is just a way to level the playing field."

The committee later directed staff to work with the independent budget analyst's office, and the city attorney to return with a draft of the charter amendment.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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