|The City of Chula Vista staff is bracing to implement deeper budget cuts with the impending defeat of Proposition H. According to the City Clerk, there are approximately 20,000 outstanding provisional and write-in ballots yet to be counted for the City of Chula Vista. Currently, there is a 5,071vote variance from passing or rejecting Prop H. The San Diego County Registrar of Voters has 28 days from November 2 to reconcile and certify all ballots.
While the City waits for the official results, the budget reduction preparations have begun.
The City's forecasted budget projected a $12.5 million dollar shortfall for the next fiscal year. However with the failure of Prop H, the City would face a deficit of $18.5 million.
"There is no question the defeat of Prop H would put a further strain on City services," said City Manager, Jim Sandoval. "I will respect whatever choice Chula Vistans made on the ballot measure. However, I am focused on preparing for our next steps which would be to implement the fiscal reduction plan so the City can weather this financial crisis and start the next fiscal year with a balanced budget."
Sandoval presented his budget reduction plan at the City Council meeting on October 5. The budget cuts include the potential shuttering of multiple recreational facilities including Norman Park Senior Center and City pools, closure of a public library and elimination of youth library services, the elimination of the park ranger program and graffiti abatement crews, elimination of tree trimming services, reduction of street maintenance services, and trimming public counter hours in Public Works, Finance and Planning departments.
The executive staff has begun meeting with the goal of determining how to minimize the impacts on the public. The budget reductions would begin on January 7, 2011. The reduced hours of operation at affected facilities and programs will be announced as soon as election results are officially known.
The Prop H ballot measure posed to modernize Telecommunications Users' Tax (TUT) ordinance language and definition. The City has been collecting this tax from telecommunication companies for over 40 years. The proposition would allow the City to continue to collect the revenue from companies. The tax generated approximately $6 million dollars annually and is needed to maintain City services.