I applaud the four councilmembers (Vice Mayor Irene O'Connell voted no) for spending so much time studying the proposed budget and coming up with creative solutions to get it balanced (“San Bruno council approves new $50M balanced budget” in the July 2 edition of the Daily Journal). Councilman Michael Salazar took the lead in pushing for a balanced budget instead of staying in the deficit in which San Bruno has been; however, this budget does not tell the whole story.
It would be great if our councilmembers would also work on San Bruno’s very troubling debt-to-income ratio. A report states that over 70% of the budget funds our employees and their pensions. Capital improvement programs suffer because of this, and citizens lose out by having to endure potholes and sky-high utility bills. Now, the council is discussing raising our already burdensome sales tax. Our council and staff should be looking for revenue augmentation measures that do not burden our citizens and businesses. It is interesting that even as San Bruno’s population has been declining the last few years, the budget has been increasing exponentially. As our wise Councilwoman Laura Davis said: “This is a good budget, but can we sustain this?”