San Diego Mayor Reveals $5.65 Billion Budget, Cuts to Prevent Service Losses

San Diego Mayor Reveals $5.65 Billion Budget, Cuts to Prevent Service Losses

Mayor Todd Gloria speaks at an event in San Diego on November 26, 2021. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

4/14/2024

Updated: 4/14/2024

SAN DIEGO—Mayor Todd Gloria on April 12 revealed his proposed $5.65 billion budget for fiscal year 2025, a spending plan that’s focused on continuing city improvements and avoiding major service losses amid a difficult economic time.
“This proposed budget is on-time, balanced and will continue the business of moving San Diego forward,” Mr. Gloria said Friday morning in a speech at the Chollas Operations Yard.
With an expected $136.8 million shortfall San Diego this year, cuts are coming to parts of city government, such as: eliminating funding for the Office of Immigrant Affairs, reabsorbing the Community Equity Fund into the general fund budget, and suspending contributions to the city’s reserves for one year, among other cuts.
“These reductions are difficult but necessary to preserve core services and are anticipated to be one-time adjustments,” a statement from Mr. Gloria’s office reads.
Mr. Gloria announced he would make only minimal reductions to the budgets of the San Diego Police and Fire-Rescue departments to preserve existing service levels.
“With revenue down and costs rising, we had to make difficult choices in order to sustain funding for key priorities: addressing homelessness and building more housing; fixing roads and other critical infrastructure; and keeping you safe,” he said during his speech.
“We were able to avoid the most dire cuts by using one-time measures we cannot responsibly repeat next year, so a major part of this process will be how we reckon with our structural deficit.”
The proposed budget represents a significant increase over fiscal year 2023’s $5.12 billion budget, even as Mr. Gloria touted the cuts to primarily non-personnel expenses from department budgets.
“I commend Mayor Gloria for proposing a balanced budget while continuing to invest in streets, homeless services and public safety,” said City Councilman Kent Lee. “As Chair of the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee, I look forward to working with the public and the City Council to pass a fiscally responsible budget that continues to make progress on San Diego’s greatest needs—increasing the supply of affordable housing, investing in road repair and neighborhood infrastructure and keeping our communities safe.”
The proposed budget increases funding to address homelessness by $26.6 million.
Among those projects allocated for is the proposal to turn H Barracks, the city-owned former Navy land adjacent to the San Diego International Airport, into roughly 200 spaces to the city’s Safe Parking Program—nearly doubling the capacity of the program.
Another allocation is the proposed 1,000-bed shelter located at Kettner Boulevard and Vine Street in Middletown.
For infrastructure, Mr. Gloria’s budget earmarks $104.6 million for street resurfacing construction and design, intended to increase the number of miles of major street resurfacing from 60 budgeted in the current fiscal year to 75 in fiscal year 2025 and funds the design and planning needed to complete 105 miles in fiscal year 2026, the statement from the mayor’s office reads.
The proposed budget also includes $85.1 million in funds for flood control and green infrastructure projects.
“This is in addition to the proactive investments the city has been making under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act,” the statement from Mr. Gloria’s office reads. “Through WIFIA, the city is using the Environmental Protection Agency’s special loan program for water infrastructure projects, covering 49% of up to $733 million in stormwater upgrades, which range from pipeline replacements and pump station repairs to comprehensive watershed restoration.”
The latter investments would, in part, be an attempt to prevent the flooding caused by January’s heavy storms in less-affluent areas of Southeastern San Diego.
According to the City Charter, the mayor must announce a formal budget by April 15. Mr. Gloria will formally present his proposed budget to the City Council on April 22, followed by several weeks of department-level public hearings leading up to the release of a revised budget on May 14 that incorporates City Council and community feedback.
Final consideration by the City Council will take place in mid-June, with adoption of an appropriation ordinance due no later than June 30.
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