City council working to fund infrastructure back-log
SAN DIEGO — The City Council will consider Tuesday afternoon whether to have the City Attorney’s Office develop language for a proposed ballot measure that would set up a method for funding infrastructure projects in San Diego over the next three decades.
Councilman Mark Kersey’s “Rebuild San Diego” plan would amend the City Charter to dedicate future sales tax growth and money from reduced pension payments toward neighborhood upgrades, including streets, sidewalks, storm drains, parks, libraries, recreation centers, and police and fire stations.
In addition, it would preserve half of all new major general fund growth over the next five years for infrastructure projects — formalizing a commitment made by Mayor Faulconer in his first two budgets.
“The Rebuild San Diego measure is about our city budget reflecting the priorities of our citizens,” said Kersey, who chairs the City Council’s Infrastructure Committee. “Infrastructure is a core responsibility of our government. The city needs to show it has skin in the game by demonstrating its long-term commitment to investing in neighborhood improvements.”
The plan doesn’t include a tax increase — so if it goes on an election ballot, it would require only a simple majority to pass.
Faulconer has endorsed Kersey’s plan, which has also received conditional support from the city’s Independent Budget Analyst and San Diego County Taxpayers Association. Both the IBA and SDCTA have suggested tweaks.
On Monday, Councilman David Alvarez proposed an alternative plan that he said would raise $800 million over the next 10 years with a combination of higher property tax revenues from new projects, debt service savings and use of general fund savings.
Alvarez said his plan would help neighborhoods get needed upgrades faster and reduce the city’s long-term debt. He said he would ask for his idea and others from the public go before the Infrastructure Committee before the council takes action on Kersey’s plan.
The City Council isn’t scheduled to decide whether to place the Rebuild San Diego proposal on the ballot until a future meeting.