SF Mayor Newsom proposes $45 million in mid-year budget cuts

Joins other California cities struggling with lower tax revenue, state aid

Another city--this time San Francisco--is joining the long list of California counties and municipalities facing public service and personnel cuts because of significant budget shortfalls.

Locally, Livermore is wrestling with budget deficits and the city of Antioch has filed for bankruptcy to restructure its union contracts and reduce its operating and personnel costs.

Even Pleasanton, despite millions of dollars salted away in reserves to keep the city operating smoothly during recession years, heard a warning from its Finance Director Dave Culver this week that continued tax revenue shortfalls could eventually affect this city's operations, too.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Thursday proposed $45 million in mid-year cuts and new revenue generation to close a fiscal deficit for the current year, but warned much more serious cuts are still to come with the city's projected $500 million deficit for the coming fiscal year.

The current cuts included $6 million from the Police Department, $10.7 million combined from the public health department and human services agency, $6.2 million from the sheriff's department, and $1.7 from the fire department, but cuts were made across the board.

Newsom stressed that his proposals contained no layoffs of city workers and he did not strip any of the $43 million in recent add-backs to the budget from the Board of Supervisors.

Newsom said only 12 percent of the $45 million represented direct cuts to city services. Most of the cuts were "belt-tightening" improvements in department efficiency, such as renegotiating some city contracts, removing 80 vehicles from the city's fleet, and cutting overtime, including $3 million in police overtime, he said.

About $8.5 million of the $45 million were new revenue projections.

"I think that we've done our best to be thoughtful and judicious," Newsom said.

Newsom has taken criticism from some supervisors who claim he has in past budget cuts demanded a disproportionately higher amount from health and human services than from law enforcement.

Though there were no layoffs in this round of cuts, Newsom said expects there will be in January.

The mayor had 21 days to come up with the cuts after the city controller issued a report on Nov. 16 that the general fund was another $53 million short. The number was later revised down to $45 million.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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