San Diego mayor proposes new spending increases in budget

On April 15, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria proposed additional funding for current programs, the arts, homelessness, parks, and improving the quality of life for San Diego residents. This proposed budget would begin July 1, 2022 and increase city spending in areas that include major infrastructure projects.

With the approval of the proposal, the city’s annual operating budget would increase from $1.74 billion to $1.89 billion. Funding for the mayor’s budget increases will come from increased tax revenue and $180 million from leftover federal pandemic assistance. San Diego’s annual pension payout also drops by $31 million due to strong stock market returns in 2020.

The budget would make small increases to many programs and initiatives already in place, including cleaning sidewalks, increasing security at libraries and monitoring vacation rentals. It will also increase support for small businesses, expand free internet access in low-income areas and add new parking enforcement teams.

Additionally, the budget allocates nearly $300,000 to create a new management center where city officials would monitor intersections and immediately change red lights based on the number of cars to reduce the amount of traffic in SD. He will also spend $550,000 to create a new team that will replace outdated signal loops.

Zahrah Mahmood, a junior at John Muir College, told The UCSD Guardian that she thinks this new method will benefit anyone who drives in La Jolla by reducing the time people spend on the road.

“Traffic in La Jolla is often very bad and [I am] hoping that the new budget will significantly improve traffic congestion,” Mahmood said.

On the arts side, funding would increase from $9.6 million to $12.7 million. The city plans to spend $4.3 million to hire more employees with better training at local parks. They also hope to convert many part-time workers to full-time workers.

San Diego spending to reduce homelessness would increase from $49 million to $63 million. Funding will be directed towards new shelter beds and larger street outreach efforts. About $20 million would come from the city, $3 million from the federal government and $40 million from the state — an increase from their previous overall spending of $24.5 million.

The city’s general fund reserve will still be $205 million under Gloria’s proposal, which could become crucial in the event of an economic downturn.

In addition, $13.3 million will be allocated to cover planned salary increases for police officers, firefighters and lifeguards. The city also plans to increase the incomes of workers who earn less than their counterparts in other cities.

Currently, there are nearly 1,800 municipal vacancies out of a total of 11,940 budgeted positions. City officials say this is due to uncompetitive salaries.

The city plans to spend $28.4 million on infrastructure under Proposition H, which would cover $16 million for park improvements, $7 million for sidewalks and $2 million for firehouses. of firefighters. Another $29.7 million will cover flood prevention and efforts to reduce stormwater pollution.

San Diego plans to use $120 million in federal pandemic aid in the current budget year, leaving another $180 million. Gloria plans to spend $124 million in the next fiscal year and the remaining $56 million in 2024.

Illustration courtesy of Michelle Deng for the UCSD Guardian.

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