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Daily Business Report — Feb. 24, 2012

Mayor Declares City Structural Budget Deficit Over

(City News Service) — San Diego’s structural budget deficit has ended and residents will receive the immediate benefit of longer hours at libraries and recreation centers, Mayor Jerry Sanders announced. Recent projections show the city ending this fiscal year on June 30 at about $16.5 million in the black, Sanders said. About half will go toward opening libraries an extra four hours per week to 40 hours, keeping recreation centers operating five more hours weekly, adding 15 more cadets to the next police academy and funding a new fire station alert system. He called them “targeted restorations” of services. The remainder of the found money will be put into reserves.

Revenue, particularly sales and hotel room taxes, is projected to climb $21.9 million over budget, off-setting some higher-than-predicted expenses. The larger income levels are expected to last for several years, resulting in the end of the structural budget deficit, the mayor said.

Sanders said he wanted to restore certain services early for residents, who he credited for displaying “resilience in lean times.”

The mayor did not say if some of the higher revenue will wind up in the paychecks of city employees. Municipal workers took a 6 percent salary cut a few years ago and the reduction remains in place. City officials are negotiating with municipal labor groups, so it wasn’t an issue he could discuss, Sanders said. He said the budget picture for next year remained tight, despite having more cash. “It’s not like we’re hemorrhaging money and we don’t know what to do with it,” Sanders said.

City Council President Tony Young said he and his colleagues will have to show spending restraint in the next few years. “I share the mayor’s cautious optimism that the city’s structural budget deficit is pretty much over,” Young said. “It’s a wonderful thing.” A mid-year budget monitoring report is scheduled to be delivered to the City Council’s Budget Committee next Wednesday.

Midway Postal Facility Put on A Closure List

The facility that for decades served as San Diego’s main post office was included in a list of closures released by the U.S. Postal Service, but an agency spokeswoman said no changes are expected until the building is sold, KPBS reports. The building on Midway Drive near the Marine Corp Recruit Depot was the main local mail processing center until 1993, when a larger facility opened in Carmel Mountain Ranch. About 10 percent of San Diego’s mail now goes through the facility. The USPS attempted — but failed — to sell the building two years ago, so the Midway Drive location was technically not part of a study that led to Thursday’s announcement that 223 facilities nationwide would close, the agency’s Eva Jackson said. The postal service is under a congressional moratorium not to close any facilities until mid-May, she said. After that, the agency will again try to sell the building. Mail processing and a retail office will continue operations there until a sale is completed, she said. Jackson said there is a possibility that a buyer would allow the USPS to continue to operate a post office in the building. If not, a retail location will be opened nearby, she said.

Sustainable Urban Landscape Conference Opens March 8

The theme for the fourth annual Sustainable Urban Landscape conference being held at Cuyamaca College March 8 is “The Bottom Line for Green is Black” — examining ways that good landscaping practices can be a profitable business model in addition to helping the environment. The keynote speaker for the event is architect John Picard, a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed and built. The conference, hosted by Cuyamaca College’s Ornamental Horticulture Department, will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the college’s Performing Arts Theatre, with a reception to follow at the Water Conservation Garden. Registration for the conference is $90 before Feb. 29, and $100 after. For more information, visit

Law Partner Gets Special Districts Association Appointment

Sophie A. Akins, a partner at Best Best & Krieger, has been appointed to the Legislative Committee for the California Special Districts Association. The nonprofit association works to ensure the continued existence of local, independent special districts. Committee seats are limited to industry experts with tenure. Akins’ legal practice includes advocacy on renewable energy issues, assisting clients to procure and construct solar and alternative energy projects and proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission. Last year, the Daily Journal recognized Akins as one of California’s top 25 clean tech lawyers. She was part of SD METRO Magazine’s “Forty Under 40” honor roll.

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of SD METRO, the North Park News and the West Coast Craftsman. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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