San Diego – Continuing his focus on crafting a fiscally responsible budget that plans for the future and serves San Diego’s neighborhoods, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined today by City Council President Myrtle Cole and Councilmember Barbara Bry to announce an updated “One San Diego” budget proposal that adds investments in public safety, infrastructure and the arts while bolstering reserves to prepare for lean budget years ahead.
Mayor Faulconer’s budget revisions are additions to the City of San Diego’sProposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget – a balanced plan that prioritizes core community services such as street repair, recreation centers, libraries and public safety while making the largest infrastructure investment of this decade. The revisions call for using $14.2 million of the surplus to continue building up the City’s reserves and fund primarily one-time expenses.
“We’re going to continue putting our neighborhoods first and keep the focus on the core services that our residents rely on the most,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Thanks to belt-tightening at City Hall we have some leftover dollars from this year’s budget that we can put toward reserves to help us face future budget challenges from rising pension costs. The fiscally responsible approach is to save now to prepare for lean budget years ahead we know are coming.”
Mayor Faulconer is recommending $10.3 million go toward the General Fund reserves in preparation for future budget years. In addition, the revisions include $2.4 million more for the arts (for a total of nearly $13 million), $150,000 for a police officer recruitment and retention study, and $100,000 for police chief recruitment.
“This budget revise is a step in the right direction toward improving public safety with funding for the executive search for a new police chief as well as a San Diego Police Department recruitment and retention study,” Council President Cole said. “Every neighborhood in San Diego deserves the best services and these budget adjustments will help achieve that.”
The additions are based on increased revenue projections and additional personnel savings in department budgets that have arisen since Mayor Faulconer released the FY2018 Proposed Budget on April 13. Funds are available due to property tax projections coming in slightly higher than anticipated and surplus remaining from the current fiscal year’s budget.
“Public safety is the number one responsibility of local government, and I am glad that the financial resources were identified to develop a comprehensive police recruitment plan and a robust national search for San Diego’s next police chief,” said Councilmember Bry, Chair of the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee. “I thank the Mayor for listening to the priorities of the community and my fellow Councilmembers who expressed the need for increased funding for neighborhood services including arts, libraries, and public safety.”
While the City has seen modest revenue growth from property, sales and hotel taxes, that growth has been outpaced by a significant increase in the City’s annual pension payment following recent changes by the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System’s independent pension board. The portion of the pension payment for the City’s $1.4 billion General Fund has increased by $45 million, from $191 million in FY2017 to $236 million in FY2018.
The increase stems from changes in actuarial assumptions calculated by the SDCERS’ actuary, such as projected longer lifespans for retired employees, and lower-than-expected investment returns in the past fiscal year.
In addition to cost savings from the current budget, the City projects an additional $9.6 million from the state’s gas tax increase in FY2018. This new road repair revenue freed up money in the Infrastructure Fund. Mayor Faulconer is proposing to use those infrastructure dollars for critical projects, including the reconstruction of the Point Loma fire station, traffic improvements at the State Route 94 and Euclid Avenue interchange, a storm drain upgrade at Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla, and turf replacement at Pershing Middle School’s joint-use field. The proposed budget already included $71 million for street repair, enough to fix 349 miles of roads.
“I am pleased to see Mayor Faulconer’s pledge to fund public safety and core neighborhood services that truly help all San Diegans,” said Councilmember Chris Cate, Chair of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee. “I applaud the Mayor for his unwavering commitment to improving San Diegans’ quality of life through reinvestments in police, fire, libraries, parks and recreation centers.”
The recommendations are contained in two reports released today: theFiscal Year 2018 Proposed Budget May Revise and the Fiscal Year 2017 Year-End Budget Monitoring Report.
In total, Mayor Faulconer recommends $14.6 million in city investments and reserve funding. Highlights include:
- Pre-funding General Fund Reserves to prepare for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, $10.3 million
- Police recruitment and retention study, $150,000
- Police chief recruitment services, $100,000
- Pilot program for littering and graffiti abatement, $800,000
- Two Deputy City Attorney positions for Domestic Violence Unit, $289,000
- One Deputy City Attorney position for Neighborhood Prosecution Unit, $144,000
Opportunity in Every Community
- Arts and culture funding, $2.4 million
- Additional tree planting contract, $100,000
- Library programming, $100,000
Additionally, Mayor Faulconer proposes funding the following projects in the Infrastructure Fund. These are in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure funding already included in the proposed budget.
- Drainage projects, $5.6 million
- Police station improvements citywide, $2 million
- Reconstruction of the Point Loma fire station, $1 million
- Safety improvements at the State Route 94 and Euclid Avenue interchange, $600,000
- Storm drain upgrade at Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla, $500,000
- Turf replacement at Pershing Middle School’s joint-use field, $424,000