SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria Monday signed the $4.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2022, also known as "Back to Work SD," into law.
Gloria said Monday's action fulfilled his promise to deliver a city budget that is balanced, on-time and getting city residents back on the job.
"After years of budget mismanagement and a pandemic that wreaked havoc on our local economy, this budget sets our city on the path to get back on track and back to work," Gloria said. "With the city budget now law, we are going to make the key investments necessary to foster an equitable recovery from COVID-19, make housing more affordable, address homelessness and fix our roads."
Gloria said the budget sets the city on a fiscally responsible path to erase the structural budget deficit, while investing in neighborhood services and workers. Gloria was facing a projected budget deficit of $124 million after he took office in December.
The budget gap was closed with an increase in projected revenue and receiving $306 million in federal coronavirus relief funding coming to the city over the next two years.
Monday's budget signing followed several weeks of review by residents and the City Council. In attendance with Gloria for the signing were: City Council President Dr. Jennifer Campbell; Chris Cate, Budget Committee chairman; and Councilman Raul Campillo.
"This budget shows how united we are in moving San Diego forward," Campbell said. "We have dedicated money to supporting small businesses, combating homelessness, tackling climate change and providing the core services San Diegans deserve."
Cate said the budget "commits an unprecedented amount of infrastructure investments throughout the city, including communities of concern."
Cate added the budget includes significant funding to tackle homelessness, including more social service outreach.
"As we begin to determine our path post-pandemic, our focus needs to be on supporting our neighborhoods and allowing our small businesses owners and residents to get back to work and thrive," he said
Campillo thanked Gloria for his "vision and his leadership on these issues."
Campillo added he's also proud of the additions he and fellow council members advocated for, especially the Office of Child and Youth Success, which he called "a long overdue step towards ensuring that San Diego is the best place to raise a family."
On June 14, the City Council unanimously voted to pass Gloria's roughly $4.6 billion proposed budget, an increase of more than $537 million -- or 13.4% -- over last year's spending plan. Much of FY22's increase -- around $400 million -- is attributed to the Pure Water Project.
However, a not-insignificant $23 million increase to the San Diego Police Department's budget was made despite dozens of calls asking the council to defund the SDPD's overtime allocation by at least $10 million -- echoing 2020's marathon council session following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Much of the police budget increase is part of non-discretionary spending such as pensions, over which Gloria has little say, according to city officials. The budget cuts police overtime by $4 million.
The city has increased the SDPD's budget for the last 10 years, an increase of more than $200 million since 2011.
Other projects were given a boost by various council members as a result of unallocated American Rescue Plan and general funds, including $250,000 for four full-time code enforcement officers; $140,000 for a Real Estate Assets Department program coordinator; $300,000 for the Oak Park library design phase; $250,000 for a joint-use park with the San Diego Unified School District; and $500,000 to help fund a public power feasibility study.
Other funding priorities include:
-- $10 million to build "sexy" streets in historically underserved communities, with another $30 million planned to come from debt proceeds;
-- reorganizing the city's executive team to save $784,000 annually;
-- more than $10 million for immediate actions to combat the homelessness crisis, and funding to support the new Homelessness Strategies Department;
-- $10 million in nonprofit and small business loans in hard-hit industries and owned by people of color;
-- increased funding for the "No Shots Fired" gang prevention program and additional community and youth-focused diversion programming;
-- creating a "Summer for All of Us" program to help children and their families take part in activities at libraries and recreation centers in communities of concern;
-- building the first phase of the Pure Water recycling program, which is intended to provide nearly half of the city's drinking water by 2045;
-- updates to the Climate Action Plan; and
-- investing $7 million into the new Climate Equity Fund.
City budget documents can be found at www.sandiego.gov/finance/proposed.