San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said Tuesday that an $86 million shortfall the city is facing is a result of lost tourism revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic and not because of overspending.
“I’m extremely concerned,” Gloria said. “More importantly, I think San Diegans should be concerned, this amount of money is not one that you can just deal with.”
Gloria said he’ll have to make some tough choices, including reducing hours at some city facilities, implementing a hiring freeze and deferring capital projects. he said, though, what the city really needs is another round of stimulus dollars like the more than $250 million it received last year through the CARES Act.
“I have EMTs who are literally putting needles into arms of San Diegans in multiple locations across the city,” Gloria said. “We have librarians working outside of their branch library lending books to San Diegans, we have city employees who are stretching to make sure we fill in those gaps, and those are the kinds of services that may not be possible if we don’t receive assistance from the federal government.”
For now, some of the mayor’s plans might have to be put on hold, but he said one initiative he’s not willing to delay is forming the independent police review commission that voters passed in November. He said an independent budget analyst projects the cost for the commission would be approximately $1 million.
Gloria also wants to make it clear that there will be no tax increases to balance the budget — only voters can call for a tax hike. This budget deficit will have to be resolved with existing resources and cutting costs, he said.