Strong growth in fees paid to the city by utilities and cable television companies and gains in tax revenues are projected to increase the city of San Diego’s general fund by $14.2 million more than expected, according to a report delivered Wednesday to the City Council’s Budget Committee.
The improvements in the general fund reported by city Financial Management Director Tracy McCramer were partially offset by expenses that are expected to be $9.3 million higher than planned for the fiscal year ending June 30.
Among the revenue growth in the report:
- franchise fees paid by San Diego Gas & Electric and cable TV companies are projected to be $5.4 million higher than the $70.7 million that had been expected, partly because of higher energy rates and consumption, according to financial management staff;
- hotel room taxes will provide an extra $2.2 million, for a total of $94.5 million;
- sales taxes are projected to add $2 million, to $259.1 million; and
- property taxes are projected to increase by $1.1 million, to $446.6 million.
For expenses, wages and salaries are projected to be $8.3 million higher citywide, totaling $504.9 million.
The biggest hikes are for overtime, workers’ compensation and disability pay in the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, totaling $9.3 million, and the San Diego Police Department — $6.8 million.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told the committee that SDPD overtime costs primarily stemmed from a need to train newly minted officers in the field.
The expenses also include a $12.8 million transfer from the general fund to the Public Liability Reserve, an account that pays for legal settlements. Since the transfer came from last year’s revenue, a section of the report that showed it causing an $8.9 million deficit will be clarified, to show the budget remains in the black, before the document goes to the full City Council next week.
The mayor’s office has proposed to use the pre-funding technique again with $3.9 million of this year’s extra revenue, which would be shared by the Public Liability Reserve and Long-Term Disability Reserve.
All told, the general fund — which pays for basic city services — is expected to land within 1 percent of its $1.2 billion budget.
— City News Service
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