City Balances Budget on Strippers' Backs

San Diego votes to lean on the young and the old, the clothed and the nude, to help close a yawning budget gap.

The City Council overwhelmingly voted to pass most of the fee hikes proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders, who is trying to close a $60 million hole. Bean counters figure the moves will net $6.7 million for city coffers.

So where does all that money come from? Businesses sending out strippers will have to pay $15,702, up from $2,800. Procrastinators who fail to return library books will get dinged 30 cents a day instead of a quarter. Adding yet another news rack to city sidewalks will go up a whopping 50 percent -- to $15 -- and pedicab operators will have to peddle $15 farther now, for a total of $40.

Want a permit for the swap meet? That'll cost you a cool $1,276, whereas last time you coughed up $975.

The City Council blocked the mayor, though, in his desire to boost fees that nonprofits are charged when the city has to provide public-safety resources at events. The council did, however, kill the $1,000 discount that nonprofits get for those services.

"We ought to do everything we can for these community events, for these nonprofit events, to keep them going," Councilman Kevin Faulconer said.

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