City Council concerned about Mayor Bob Filner's proposed infrastructure bond delay

SAN DIEGO - A scientific 10News poll shows the majority of San Diegans feel potholes and water main breaks are a big problem, but the relief many thought was coming soon may not be.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's budget proposal essentially delays money the City Council says it was counting on to tackle some of those problems.

While Rainbow Farms Market is bustling now, that was not the case in mid-April when a water main break broke open the street.

"We were without water for two days. We literally had to go buy water just to keep our meat department running, our produce department running," said Rainbow Farms Market operations manager Eddie Markos. "It's not good for business."

Markos said the market had to spend hundreds of dollars on water and the gas to heat it. He would like the city to replace pipes before they break, but he may have to wait.

Filner's proposal delays issuing an $80 million infrastructure bond to save $6.6 million in debt servicing and other payments.

"I recognize that we're in difficult times financially, but at the same time, we really do need to be investing in infrastructure," said 5th District Councilman Mark Kersey, who chairs the Infrastructure Committee.

Kersey said Filner's proposal would delay the City Council's planned infrastructure spending by about a year.

"When you don't maintain things, they quickly turn into projects [for which] you can't catch up on the maintenance. You really just have to replace them and it's a lot more expensive," Kersey said.

The city's Independent Budget Analyst said the city is already behind on capital improvements by at least $900 million.

Meanwhile, another battle is brewing over funding condition assessments, which are used to figure out how big the problems are with such things as sidewalks, buildings, parks and recreation facilities.

Several council members have already said these assessments are critical. Filner's proposal does not include money for them.

San Diego's roads are ranked the eighth-worst among large U.S. cities, and water main breaks are up from 94 in 2011 to 102 in 2012.

"Ultimately, the Council passes the budget and we're going to push for these things to be in there," said Kersey.

Businesses like Rainbow Farms Market are counting on that.

"For business, it's good because it's going to make our city look a lot better because everything's brand new," said Markos.

10News reached out to Filner, but did not get a response.

The City Council will continue to review Filner's budget proposal on Monday.

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