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SLO's budget gap widens

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The City of San Luis Obispo acknowledged a growing budget gap in recent financial documents, bringing the shortfall to $11.3 million, almost $1 million higher than staff reported earlier this year.
 
Flagging revenues from sales and hotel taxes are to blame for the shortfall, staff said. The city is already cutting funding for several new projects around the city—more than 40 percent of the gap is being closed by cutting capital improvement projects—and cutting budgets for several existing programs to balance the budget over the next two years. The city is even dipping into reserves to close the gap and asking staff to forgo raises in the next budget cycle.

Increased fees for several recreation programs are proposed, including low-cost child care, golf, and swimming. The council will also consider an increase in the cost of building permits, open alcohol container violations, and fees to rent city parks and buildings.

New cost-saving measures will be reviewed at a June 4 budget hearing in City Hall. Staff will present a preliminary financial plan and an overview of the general fund status at that meeting. A final version of the budget will be adopted on June 16.

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