Largest Infrastructure Investment in History Proposed in New Budget
April 19, 2018
By Ana Gomez Salcido
A budget that funds the largest infrastructure investment in City history was formally presented to the San Diego City Council, on Monday, April 16.
The City of San Diego’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget prioritizes funding for public safety, the Clean SD initiative, homelessness, street repair, recreation centers, and libraries.
“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,” San Diego Mayor Kevin 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 recreation centers open for children, creating more housing affordability for working families, and putting more police officers on the street to protect our communities.”
According to City officials, 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.
The City has been forced to grapple with a lean budget over the past couple years. And the proposed budget includes 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 also seen significant growth since Faulconer took office as mayor. It has more than tripled since fiscal year 2014 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 fiscal year 2019.
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 $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.
“I am pleased that the Mayor’s budget proposal continues to advocate for public safety, neighborhood services, infrastructure, job creation/economic development, and homelessness,” said City Council President, Myrtle Cole. “I look forward to working together to approve a City budget that responds to the needs of all of our communities.”
Monday’s presentation at the City Council chambers was only informational no motion was required. The final budget will be adopted in June, after several weeks of review by the public and the City Council.
“The Mayor is proposing zero impacts to core services and fiscal year 2019 looks strong,” said Barbara Bry, City Councilmember and Chair of the Budget & Government Efficiency Committee. “Today is the beginning of the budget process and as Budget Committee Chair, I’m excited to encourage San Diegans to actively participate in this process. It is critical to have your voice included. Public testimony is welcome and encouraged at any and all of the hearings from May 2 to May 9, as well as at an evening meeting of the full City Council on May 14.”