City Considers Draconian Cuts

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010  |  Updated 12:16 PM PDT
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City Considers Draconian Cuts

Jaime Scott Lytle/North County Times

Orange Glen High School girls water polo team coach Elizabeth Boyer runs practice Monday at Washington Park Pool in Escondido. The city may close the pool due to budget problems. (Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle - Staff Photographer)

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The budget cuts one North County city is mulling would dramatically change city services, according to a published report.
 
Solving Escondido's budget crisis this spring would require closing the performing arts center, both city pools, three city parks, the East Valley library branch and the East Valley Community Center, city officials told the North County Times on Monday.

The cuts, which would save $9.1 million per year and require laying off 44 full-time employees and 23 part-timers, would also include reducing the police force from 168 to 164 and slashing budgets for nonprofit agencies, new city vehicles, code enforcement, graffiti removal and pothole repair.

The City Council's budget subcommittee reluctantly supported the package of proposed cuts on Monday, but said $20.6 million in city reserves could be used to avoid some of the cuts.

However, plummeting sales tax revenue has already forced the city to burn through about $19 million in reserves over the past four years, and city officials have made it a priority this winter to bring expenses back in line with revenue.

The subcommittee, which includes Councilman Dick Daniels and Councilwoman Olga Diaz, stressed that any cuts would have to be approved by the five-member council at a meeting scheduled for March 3.

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