Loans to nonprofits and small businesses, building ‘sexy’ streets, reducing police overtime, investing in the city’s Climate Equity Fund and emphasizing support for San Diego Convention Center are among the highlights of Mayor Todd Gloria’s proposed $ 4.6 billion budget, which was revealed Thursday.
His intention is to revive the city’s economy and pave the way for a fair recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
âMy ‘Back to Work DD’ budget prioritizes a fair recovery from the impacts of the pandemic while laying the foundations for a better future for all of us,â said Gloria at a press conference outside a Mexican restaurant in City Heights hard hit by the pandemic.
“Despite a structural budget deficit inherited from the previous administration, we have taken a pragmatic approach to balance this budget while protecting basic services and investing in the people who have suffered the most over the past year,” said he continued.
The proposed budget centers on the âBack to Work SDâ plan that Gloria developed during her campaign and which serves as a framework to help the San Diegans devastated by COVID-19 and equip them for a better future.
âMayor Gloria’s budget proposal looks ahead without losing sight of the issues in San Diego that need to be addressed today,â said Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego. âI salute the mayor’s priorities, including investments in our hard-hit small businesses and nonprofits, strategies to end homelessness, the city’s climate change plan and services for help the San Diegans get to work and create opportunities for children and families.
The main financial items in the budget include:
- $ 10 million in loans to nonprofits and small businesses in hard-hit industries owned by people of color.
- $ 10.2 million to support the convention center, intended to maintain well-paying jobs and keep San Diego on the verge of rebounding its tourism economy.
- $ 10 million to build comprehensive, quality âsexyâ streets in communities of concern, and an additional $ 30 million is expected to come from debt service.
- Invest $ 22.1 million in the city’s workforce to make their salaries more competitive with other local agencies.
- Over $ 10 million for immediate actions to help people in crisis on the streets and funding to support the new Department of Homelessness Strategies to ensure the city is configured to be successful in its efforts to end roaming.
- $ 4 million in savings offered with general San Diego Police Department overtime reductions.
- Investment of $ 5 million in the new Climate Equity Fund.
- And adjust library hours of operation to a Tuesday-Saturday schedule as the city reopens to save $ 6.9 million, while investing $ 1.25 million in electronic documents and virtual hours in stores. affected communities.
The city faced a projected budget deficit for the next fiscal year of $ 124 million – a figure that exceeds the entire annual budget of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Last month, President Joe Biden enacted the US bailout, allocating about $ 306 million in federal aid to the city of San Diego, which Gloria offered to use to strengthen the local economy and stabilize finances. from the city.
âI proudly supported the US bailout because it provides the resources our cities need as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,â said Senator Alex Padilla, D-California. âFederal support for local programs and projects will be essential to a rapid and equitable recovery. Through the American Rescue Plan, San Diego can make strategic investments to build back stronger. “
The $ 4.6 billion budget proposal recommends spending levels for city operations and capital projects for fiscal year 2022, which runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
The final budget will be adopted in June after several weeks of scrutiny by the public and city council.
Gloria – who earlier today received her first COVID vaccination (from Councilor Jen Campbell) – will officially present the budget proposal to San Diego City Council at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the council chamber.