Mayor Faulconer proposes $3.2B budget to City Council
SAN DIEGO — Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed $3.2 billion budget for the city of San Diego for the next fiscal year enjoyed a positive reception Tuesday when it was presented to the City Council.
Faulconer’s plan envisions spending 7 percent more money than in the current fiscal year, leading some council members who have been around for a while to admire how far the city has come fiscally since the recession.
“What a difference an economy makes,” said Councilman Todd Gloria, who chairs the panel’s Budget Committee.
San Diego communities stand to benefit from the increased benefits, the mayor said.
“For our neighborhoods, last year’s budget was a big step … This year, we have the opportunity for a huge leap forward,” Faulconer said.
The spending plan, which would take effect July 1, includes funding for the repair of 300 miles of streets. The mayor has made a goal of repaving 1,000 miles of roadways over the next five years, and he’s set aside $49.2 million in a bond issue to pay some of the cost.
He is also proposing to expand operating hours at the city’s 16 busiest recreation centers from 45 to 60 hours a week, upgrade playgrounds, install better lighting, and improve preschool and teen programs. Hours will be expanded at other recreation centers as soon as funding becomes available, he said.
The proposed budget also builds on the city’s activities of the current year by increasing broadband Internet access at libraries, expanding an after- school study program at libraries in communities with low test scores, staffing a new fire station in Mission Valley and a temporary fire facility in Skyline, adding more neighborhood code enforcement officers and updating nine community zoning plans.
He also plans to fund the creation of a master plan for De Anza Cove on Mission Bay. Residents of a mobile home park there are vacating the property following the end of a decades-long court battle.
The upcoming year’s spending will be higher because of across-the-board revenue increases, according to the mayor’s office.
The city is projecting a 4.25 percent hike in property tax income, 4 percent for sales taxes, 5.5 percent in hotel room taxes and 2 percent for franchise fees — which are paid for by companies like San Diego Gas & Electric and Cox.
The council members will hold hearings on the budget in May 4-8, combing through the spending plans of individual departments, and hold a public hearing on the overall document on May 21. A vote on a final budget will take place in June.