Council unanimously approves Mayor Gloria’s $ 4.6 billion budget proposal


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego City Council voted unanimously on Monday to pass Mayor Todd Gloria’s proposed budget of approximately $ 4.6 billion for fiscal 2022, an increase of more than $ 537 million – or 13.4% – from last year’s spending plan.

“I want to thank City Council for their unanimous support for my budget which aims to get San Diego back on track,” Gloria said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to solve our city’s biggest challenges: making housing more affordable, ending homelessness, fostering a fair recovery and fixing our roads. This budget puts us on the path to doing it together.

Much of the increase in FY22 – around $ 400 million – is attributed to the Pure Water project.

However, a sizable $ 23 million increase in the San Diego Police Department‘s budget was made despite dozens of appeals asking the council to fund the SDPD’s overtime allowance of at least $ 10 million. dollars – echoing the 2020 marathon council session following George’s in-custody death. Floyd in Minneapolis.

Much of the increase in the police budget comes from non-discretionary spending such as pensions, over which Gloria has little say. The budget cuts police overtime by $ 4 million.

The city has increased the SDPD budget over the past 10 years, an increase of over $ 200 million since 2011.

City Councilor Monica Montgomery Steppe questioned some of the rules of council meetings, particularly the fact that she could not publicly discuss her proposal to reallocate funding from the SDPD to other methods of crisis prevention and diversion such as homeless awareness and mental health crisis teams.

City Councilor Chris Cate, chairman of the budget committee, had proposed the budget discussion, and the rules of procedure dictated that only one substantive issue could be discussed at a time. In short, Montgomery Steppe could not discuss his budget proposal because the council was discussing the budget.

A friendly amendment to reallocate funding without discussion was refused by Cate.

“I don’t think everyone gets absolutely everything they wanted in this budget, but that’s okay,” he said.

Several other board members also expressed unease with the procedure, but all nine ultimately voted to approve the spending plan.

“This budget takes equity into account, but I would like us to have a discussion on my proposal,” Montgomery Steppe said before voting.

Gloria faced a projected budget deficit of $ 124 million after taking office in December. The budget gap has been closed with an increase in projected revenues and the receipt of $ 306 million in federal coronavirus relief funding coming to the city over the next two years.

The original $ 4.5 billion budget proposal was hammered home by council and the public for a proposal to cut municipal library hours to five days a week as a cost saving measure.

City councilor Vivian Moreno has fought against cuts, especially in underserved communities like those in her district.

“I have been with the city for over 10 years and can say with certainty that this is the best budget that communities in District 8 have seen during this time,” she said. “Since the beginning of our budget process, I have always said that we should not have reduced the services our residents rely on, such as library hours, weeding services or artistic programming.

“This budget prioritizes funding for community services and infrastructure needs,” continued Moreno. “Getting those services back in this budget is very important as we continue to recover from the pandemic. “

Between Gloria’s revised May budget which added $ 73 million to the spending plan and Monday, board members advocated for issues important to them, including the creation of the Office for Child and Youth Success – a new department advocated by councilors Raul Campillo and Sean Elo-Rivera – at a cost of $ 350,000 for the first year.

“San Diego sorely lacks access to affordable, quality child care and lacks access to resources for youth services,” Campillo said. “The need for a Child and Youth Success Office existed before the COVID-19 pandemic and we have only seen this need increase since March 2020. We can and must invest more of our city’s resources by thinking to children and young people. And by creating this office, we will leverage our strengths to make our city a great place to grow up and raise a family.

Elo-Rivera expressed similar sentiments.

“Under the new leadership of this council and the mayor, including funding for the Office for Successful Children and Youth in our budget is an investment to provide every young person with a quality foundation,” he said. declared. “However, just funding the office is not enough. We must tap into the sparkle and power of the children and youth of San Diego – many of whom have led the advocacy for this office – by including them at every stage of the office’s development and implementation.

Other projects were discussed Monday by various board members due to the unallocated US bailout and general funds, including $ 250,000 for four full-time code enforcement officers; $ 140,000 for a program coordinator in the Department of Real Estate Assets; $ 300,000 for the design phase of the Oak Park library; $ 250,000 for a park for joint use with the San Diego Unified School District; and $ 500,000 to help fund a feasibility study on public electricity.

Other funded priorities include:

  • $ 10 million to build “sexy” streets in historically underserved communities, and an additional $ 30 million is expected to come from debt proceeds;
  • reorganize the city’s management team to save $ 784,000 annually;
  • over $ 10 million for immediate actions to fight the homelessness crisis and funding to support the new Homelessness Strategy Department;
  • $ 10 million in nonprofit and small business loans in sectors hard hit and owned by people of color;
  • increased funding for the “No Shots Fired” gang prevention program and other community- and youth-focused diversion programs;
  • create a “Summer for Us All” program to help children and their families participate in activities in libraries and recreation centers in affected communities;
  • the construction of the first phase of the Pure Water recycling program, which aims to provide nearly half of the city’s drinking water by 2045;
  • updates to the Climate Action Plan; and
  • invest $ 7 million in the new Climate Equity Fund.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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