State of San Marcos looking up, Desmond says


Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.


What: Mayor Jim Desmond reviewed the city’s accomplishments and problems.

Achievements: Reduced crime, opened Double Peak and Hollandia parks, and will open Sunset Park tomorrow, at La Mirada Drive and Poinsettia Avenue. Leading a regional effort to widen eastbound state Route 78 between Twin Oaks Valley and Nordahl roads.

Problems: Continued decline in sales and property tax revenue, and the state’s taking of property taxes and redevelopment funds.

SAN MARCOS — While many cities in the region dwelled on sharp revenue declines that have forced massive budget cuts, San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond, who is running for re-election this year, accentuated the positive in his annual address to the city this week.

Desmond devoted most of his speech Tuesday to San Marcos’ accomplishments — building parks, reducing crime, planning for development downtown and in the nearby University District, and taking the lead in relieving congestion on state Route 78.

He didn’t mention revenue problems until the end, when he bemoaned the drop in sales and property tax income and the state’s taking of local property taxes and redevelopment funds to balance its budget.

San Marcos’ general fund has lost roughly $1.1 million in the first half of the fiscal year, which began July 1, and is expected to end with $60.6 million in income June 30, and a balanced budget, city spokeswoman Jenny Peterson said. The sharpest declines were in sales and property tax income.

By comparison, neighboring Escondido has a $10.5 million deficit in its $72.9 million budget. Still, San Marcos has had to cut vehicle replacements and the purchase of new software, and freeze vacant positions.

“While it’s true that we’ve been through a difficult year, we rose to the occasion together and are stronger for it,” Desmond said.

Desmond’s early-morning speech was hosted by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce and partly sponsored by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and the proposed 2,700-home Merriam Mountains development outside Escondido. He delivered it to roughly 110 people in the City Council chambers.

Desmond said San Marcos has been building parks to serve its growing population, projected to increase from 82,600 to 90,000 in 10 years. A major attraction that opened last year was the 230-acre Double Peak Park built by San Elijo Hills Development Corp. off San Elijo Road. The park offers a panoramic view of the area and the Pacific Ocean. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SD UT

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