No Drastic Budget Cuts For 2 South Bay Cities

Chula Vista, National City Will Not Make Major Cuts This Year But Will Not Make Additions

There is light at the end of the tunnel for two South Bay cities that have been hammered the past several years by extreme budget cuts.

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The cities of Chula Vista and National City will not make any drastic cuts this year like in years past. However, they won't be making any additions either.

"Things have bottomed out. Things are incrementally getting better," said Chula Vista City Manager Jim Sandoval.

In the past four to six years, both cities have cut payroll, eliminated positions and cut services.

"We had a budget several years ago of about $170 million. Now it's $124 million," said Sandoval.

For the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget, there will be very little change with police, fire, and City Hall. It's a relief for Chula Vista, which cut 500 employees in four years -- one-third of its workforce.

National City cut $20 million, which was more than half its current budget.

"Well, hopefully the economy is plateauing. We don't see any big spikes one way or the other," said National City Mayor Ron Morrison.

Morrison said it cut upper and middle managers, opting to focus on keeping workers on the street. He said he would love to see a spike in revenue, but believes it won't happen as long as California keeps taking money from its cities.

"We're talking $14 million a year," said Morrison.

He said Sacramento lawmakers could avoid its own $15 billion shortfall if it followed National City's lead.

"If we did not have the state to worry about our cities would be in great shape," said Morrison.

Both cities are expected to approve balanced budgets July 1.

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