City Council adopts $4.3 billion fiscal year 2020 budget

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 Monday to approve the city’s $4.3 billion fiscal year 2020 budget.

The spending plan includes roughly $1.6 billion in general fund spending, more than half of which will go toward the city’s Police and Fire-Rescue departments. The budget is more than $100 million larger that of fiscal year 2019, mostly due to rising pension payments and salary increases.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer worked around those pension payments and slowing revenue growth by calling for cuts to various city departments and services, including a $1.1 million cut to non-palm tree trimming services. However, the council restored some of that funding following recommendations from the city’s Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin.

Faulconer touted an infrastructure investment of more than $700 million, the largest in the city’s history. A large portion of that spending will fund construction of the Pure Water program, which the city says will produce one-third of San Diego’s drinking water supply by 2035.

“This plan builds on the progress we’ve made over the past few years to put neighborhoods first and delivers the largest infrastructure investment in city history,” Faulconer said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to reduce homelessness, make housing more affordable, fix our streets and clean up our neighborhoods, and this budget prioritizes each as we work together to solve San Diego’s biggest challenges.”

Tevlin’s $4.3 million in recommended budget additions included $971,000 for tree trimming services, $553,000 for four full-time lifeguard positions for the city’s pool system; and $1.1 million to repair the city’s storm water drainage pipes.

The council adopted Tevlin’s recommendations as well as roughly $7 million in spending Faulconer added last month to cover services like brush management and fund the hiring of three new homelessness positions at the San Diego Housing Commission.

“The fiscal year 2020 budget invests in pressing needs and longstanding community projects and builds a foundation for an equitable, sustainable future,” said City Councilman Chris Ward. “I want to thank Mayor Faulconer, my colleagues on the City Council and all San Diegans for their part in producing a budget that reflects our values and commitment to safe, accessible neighborhoods, equitable access to resources and reliable city services.”

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