San Diego City Council taking first look at Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposed budget plan

Posted at 7:15 AM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 11:00:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some San Diego City Council members and citizens have expressed concern about some of the proposed cuts that are part of Mayor Kevin Faulconer's budget plan.

The mayor unveiled his $3.6 billion budget plan last month, and it placed an emphasis on improving the city's infrastructure through street/pothole repairs, addressing the homeless issue and prioritizing community services such as parks and libraries.

However, Faulconer's proposal also calls for the elimination of jobs and spending cuts of more than $22 million from different city departments. Some have praised the mayor's plan and called it strategic.

The mayor's budget plan also means cuts to San Diego Police Department officer recruiting and retention. Councilman David Alvarez said those cuts come at a time when the city needs police on the streets the most.

"Let's focus on the things that matter to the people of San Diego -- that's public safety, making sure our libraries are open, making sure that our beaches are safe, that our arts funding continues," said Alvarez.

A recent report shows a shortage of officers in the police department that many feel will get worse over time.

The budget plan involves cutting $4.7 million in funding to the city's arts program -- a decision Councilwoman Lorie Zapf referred to as "Draconian."

Molly Puryear, executive director for Malashock Dance at Liberty Station, said taking one-third of their funding away is huge and could mean salaries cut and jobs lost. Also, she said it would be a big loss for the community.

"It's a very real threat to the vibrancy and product that we provide and service that we provide to the community," said Puryear.

Beginning Wednesday, the city's Budget Review Committee will look into the mayor's spending plan in a series of meetings in preparation for the upcoming fiscal year. The committee will go over police and fire department budgets, as well as spending plans for other city departments.

The meetings are expected to run through next Tuesday, and the mayor will release revisions to his proposal, based on all feedback from the meetings as well as public input, later this month.

The City Council is required by the City Charter to approve a spending plan by June 15.