Faulconer’s budget proposal continues a fiscally responsible approach given modest revenue growth and the need to ensure the City lives within its means. The balanced budget was made possible in large part by the prudent financial decisions, including pre-funding reserves, in last year’s budget and the Mayor’s directive this year for department directors to hold the line on spending.
Faulconer’s proposed budget prioritizes funding for the largest recruitment and retention package in San Diego Police Department history, the equivalent of 390 miles of street repair, the highest level of operating hours at libraries and recreation centers in a decade, and key initiatives such as the Climate Action Plan, Pure Water San Diego, Vision Zero safety measures, Clean SD, and several homeless programs.
The annual budget for the Capital Improvements Program, which funds most infrastructure projects throughout the city, has increased since Faulconer took office. It has more than tripled since FY2014 and now stands at $553 million.
The City is projecting modestly improving revenue from property (5.5 percent), sales (3 percent) and hotel taxes (5.3 percent) in FY2019.
Faulconer has proposed balancing the budget with about $14.1 million in reductions spread across various City departments, rolling over $12.3 million in projected surplus from the current fiscal year budget, and the use of $5.6 million in excess funds available in select reserve accounts, among other things.
The structurally balanced budget proposal includes:
· Most funding for the Capital Improvements Program in City history – $553 million;
· $76 million in funding to fix the equivalent of 390 miles of streets;
· $153 million for projects and programs related to the Climate Action Plan;
· Includes $121 million to move forward with Pure Water recycling program;
· $7.9 million for homeless services and programs, including three Bridge Shelters, the year-round interim housing program at Father Joe’s, Safe Parking Program and the new Housing Navigation Center;
· $28.3 million for largest recruitment and retention package in SDPD history;
· Continues with four academies of police recruits for $8.4 million;
· Creating SDPD’s new Neighborhood Policing Division for $666,000;
· An expanded firefighter academy to maintain full staffing levels for $242,000;
· An additional $4.4 million to expand the “Clean SD” initiative to cleanup neighborhoods and the San Diego River;
· Creation of a new Sustainability Department to oversee implementation of the Climate Action Plan;
· $18 million for projects to support Vision Zero safety goals, including bike facilities, sidewalks, traffic signals, crosswalks and traffic calming measures;
· Maintaining recreation center and library hours at the highest level in a decade;
· $1.5 million to staff two new libraries (Mission Hills/Hillcrest and San Ysidro) and 10 new facilities/open space in the Parks and Recreation Department;
· Fully funding reserves to policy targets and making $323 million annual pension payment;
· Begins to replenish the Pension Stabilization Reserve with a contribution of $3.5 million;
· Maintaining arts and culture funding at FY2018 levels minus 2 percent consistent with citywide reductions – $14.5 million.
The $3.8 billion budget proposal recommends spending levels for City operations and capital projects for fiscal year 2019, which runs from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
The final budget will be adopted in June following several weeks of review by the public and the City Council. The budget proposal will be formally presented to the City Council at 2 p.m. April 16 in the City Council chambers.
“We’re continuing to put neighborhoods first by maintaining the key services we’ve restored in recent years and making the largest infrastructure investment in San Diego history,” Faulconer said. “This balanced budget will keep our foot on the pedal when it comes to fixing more roads, helping people into stable housing, keeping libraries and rec centers open for children, creating more housing affordability for working families, and putting more police officers on the street to protect our communities.”