San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today 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.

“Public safety took the lion’s share of the mid-year cuts,” Newsom said today.

“Police, fire and sheriff really stepped up,” he said. “They deserve a lot of credit.”

Health and human service cuts “are always the most difficult,” Newsom said.

The mayor himself proposed a 15 percent cut from both his salary and that of his chief of staff, who both earn more than $200,000, and 10 percent salary cuts from others in the mayor’s office earning more than $125,000.

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.

“The general fund reserve is now restored,” Newsom said. “We’re back in fiscal health.”
A major factor in balancing the budget was the need to assure credit rating agencies that the city is on sound financial footing, according to Newsom.

Approximately $25 million of the current proposed cuts would be ongoing, so Newsom today revised the projected deficit for the next fiscal year down from $522 million to $497 million.

But the city will be without help from the state next year, and will not receive the one-time federal stimulus dollars it got this year, according to Newsom.

“And so it’s a much more challenging budget,” he warned.

“The next round, there will have to be, by definition, some creative solutions,” he said.

Along those lines, Newsom said today he will continue to ask all city departments to trim 20 percent from their budgets, and to make contingency plans to cut 30 percent.

In the end, though, “some departments will have deeper cuts, some will have substantially smaller cuts,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors will consider today’s proposed cuts in January.

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  • SoSlot

    The SFFD is reassigning 7 Inspectors back to the Firehouses.
    This is long overdue in these economic times.

    What could save several millions more dollars would be for the SFFD to reassign the 25 Chiefs’ drivers back into the firehouses.

    Yes, the Chiefs would then have to drive themselves.
    On the up side, the 25, $120,000 a year salaries would not have to be paid out.($3,000,000).

    25 new firefighters would not have to be hired and trained.

    Overtime in the Firehouses would decline.

    WIN! WIN! Except for the chiefs who would have to get behind the wheel.