The District's top financial official recommended to Mayor Marion Barry yesterday that he furlough city workers for at least four days this summer, one of several steps he said is necessary to ensure that the city will continue to meet its payroll.

In a memorandum to Barry, Robert Pohlman, deputy mayor for finance, said the city is facing a deficit of at least $95 million for fiscal 1990 and urged "immediate, drastic steps to reduce budgets of District agencies." The memo was released by the mayor's press office.

"We must also impose a minimum four-day furlough if we are going to meet our cash needs, let alone balance the budget for {fiscal year} 1990," Pohlman wrote. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Pohlman also urged the mayor to sign an executive order halting all spending and hiring "that is not designed to preserve the publc safety, to generate revenue, or to comply with court orders." He recommended that a planned 2 percent pay raise for nonunion workers be canceled.

"We simply do not have the money," he wrote. "We must batten down the hatches and stop everything that is not vital to maintaining the required functions of government."

City Administrator Carol B. Thompson warned recently that a furlough might be necessary to deal with the District's mounting fiscal problems.

Pohlman also recommended an additional 5 percent surtax on commercial property taxes and the imposition of a new tax on public utilities, steps that would raise an additional $40 million in revenue for the year.

At the same time, he recommended a variety of spending cuts, including $700,000 from the city's $5.9 million AIDS budget, $3.2 million from drug treatment programs and about $3 million in the Department of Employment Services, much of which is to be achieved through reducing the mayor's summer jobs program for youths.

"We're going to have to take steps to avoid" missing a payroll, Pohlman said in an interview.

Pohlman said Barry would review the recommendations over the weekend and would likely decide on a course of action by Monday.

The release of Pohlman's memo was the latest effort by the administration to convince members of the public and the D.C. Council of what Pohlman called the seriousness of the city's fiscal situation. The city is suffering a slowdown in revenue collection because of the economic slowdown in the region, and the Department of Human Services is overspending its budget by a large margin.

Barry has met at least twice with council members in past weeks, most recently on Wednesday, but no consensus emerged on how to solve the financial problems. Barry has complained that the council has been unwilling to make hard choices about the budget, and some council members have expressed skepticism about the administration's budget figures.

Many of the spending cuts -- including the furlough -- can be adopted unilaterally by the administration, although unions must be given 30 days' notice. The furlough plan would undoubtedly spur political opposition, however, and it is unclear whether Barry would go along with it.

Any new taxes must be approved by the council, which has already rebuffed the mayor's effort to raise taxes once this year and is under election-year pressure to keep taxes down.

Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), a member of the council's Finance and Revenue Committee and a candidate for mayor, said the council would have to "review the taxes carefully."

She said she plans to vote against a proposal by the mayor, introduced last week, to keep the property tax rate for homeowners at $1.06 per $100 of assessed valuation. Council members have promised to cut the rate to 99 cents or lower, but Barry warned that the fiscal situation is too grave to go ahead with the cut.