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Morning Report: About That Structural Budget Deficit

Mayor-elect Todd Gloria and Mayor Kevin Faulconer attend a press conference for Operation Shelter to Home. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

Mayor Todd Gloria faces startling budget deficits and the prospect of major cuts as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the city budget, but he recently argued that plummeting tax hauls aren’t the only problems eating at the city’s bottom line.

In his State of the City address last month, Gloria said the pandemic had “exacerbated longstanding city budget problems the last administration did too little to address” and that the city faced structural budget deficits.

Basically: The city had longstanding budget issues that needed fixing before the pandemic ever rocked the city’s budget and tax revenues.

Lisa Halverstadt asked Gloria and his team about those challenges and learned they are concerned about – among other things – infrastructure needs, including mandated stormwater commitments, and employee compensation and pension issues [1] that have dogged the city for years. 

Gloria has also dinged former Mayor Kevin Faulconer for not taking a more aggressive approach to addressing these challenges as services and city staffing increased on his watch.

But while a structural budget challenge typically leaves a city with a choice to raise revenues or make cuts, Gloria isn’t elaborating on his plans yet. Instead, he’s mulling how to address a projected $85 million deficit for the year that ends in June, and another $124 million gap the city expects for the new year beginning in July – and citing the need to consider the economic environment before pitching any tax hikes to address the city’s big budget challenges. 

Controversy Surrounds Appointment of Oceanside Councilmember

Oceanside’s newest leader is making waves. But not for anything she’s necessarily said or believes in.

The City Council selected Kori Jensen to fill the seat vacated by Democratic Mayor Esther Sanchez in November and local residents were quick to question how involved she’s actually been in the mostly Democrat, mostly Latino communities she now serves. Jensen is a White Republican.

As Kayla Jimenez notes in the North County Report, several complaints have been filed alleging Jensen doesn’t actually live in the district [2]. She told the Union-Tribune that she’s been living in her home, though featured on Airbnb, full-time since the start of the pandemic. 

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The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan, Lisa Halverstadt and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.