FY24 Proposed Budget Emphasizes Delivering Infrastructure Projects, Improving Core Services
Mayor Todd Gloria has released his Fiscal Year 2024 proposed budget, a $5.12 billion spending plan focused on delivering on the major investments included in the last two budgets while adding strategic new expenditures to address homelessness, repave streets and enhance public safety.
Calling it his “Getting It Done” budget for its emphasis on execution, Mayor Gloria said the goal was to sustain all funding from the prior budget year, maintaining service levels while adding expenditures needed to make progress in key priority areas.
“We built a strong foundation for improving the infrastructure and overall quality of core city services in my administration’s first two budgets,” said Mayor Gloria. “This coming fiscal year, we’re focused on efficiently and effectively delivering on those investments and making substantial progress toward ensuring that, operationally, we're the well-functioning City government that San Diegans expect and deserve.”
The FY24 Proposed Budget expands general fund support for homelessness, adding $24.5 million to maintain and operate the nearly 70 percent in additional shelter bed capacity the City has achieved to date under Mayor Gloria’s leadership.
The FY24 budget adds $5 million to further expand shelter capacity in FY24, including funding for a Safe Sleeping program; $2.3 million for rental assistance for San Diegans who are at risk of losing their housing; and $1.4 million in funding to support new positions and vehicles to remove waste from the public right-of-way in areas most heavily affected by encampments.
The total budget of $81.7 million for homelessness services includes considerable state and federal funding, the largest source of which is the State of California’s Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention program, which provides $30.8 million of the total budget.
DELIVERING ON INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS
The Fiscal Year 2023 “Ready to Rebuild” budget marked the City’s largest-ever investment in infrastructure and significantly expanded the capacity of the City’s workforce to deliver critical capital projects that benefit San Diego communities.
This year’s budget is focused on delivering on the promise of those investments and additional investments in road repair, stormwater and facilities like parks.
The proposed budget allocates nearly $140 million to street repair/resurfacing – the most the City has invested in any given year. The funding is expected to enable the City to resurface 157 miles of streets, including both full overlay and slurry seal.
The budget adds $21.5 million to the Infrastructure Fund to continue making necessary improvements to city facilities, parks and stormwater infrastructure.
The budget includes $38.6 million in Capital Improvement Program funding for parks and playgrounds, as well as the development of new green spaces throughout the city.
The new City and joint-use park facilities funded in the proposed budget include:
- Riviera Del Sol Neighborhood Park
- Cathy Hopper Friendship Senior Center
- Ellen Browning Scripps Park Comfort Station
- Memorial Senior Center
- Mountain View Teen Center
- Eugene Brucker Education Center Dog Park
- Gompers Dog Park
- Paradise Hills Community Park Dog Park
- Allied Gardens Off Leash Dog Park
- Chollas Triangle-Groundwork
- Olive Street Mini Park
- Salk Neighborhood Joint Use
- Clairemont Canyons Academy Joint-Use
- Marston Middle School Joint-Use
KEEPING SAN DIEGO SAFE
The FY24 Proposed Budget fully funds the City’s Police and Fire-Rescue departments for the third straight year, with strategic investments that will help first responders be more effective in their life-saving operations.
The budget adds $2.2 million to fund 10 Police Investigative Service Officers (PISOs) and 11 other civilian positions to support administrative functions more cost-effectively for the Police Department, freeing up sworn police officers for patrol and responding to calls for service.
“Mayor Gloria’s continued commitment to public safety and law enforcement is clear in his Fiscal Year 2024 Proposed Budget,” Police Chief David Nisleit said. “This budget will allow the San Diego Police Department to hire more professional staff to augment staffing, bring back Smart Streetlights to support investigations and address the proliferation of illegal drugs in our communities. SDPD is grateful for the investment by Mayor Gloria and the City Council to assist us in keeping San Diego one of the safest big cities.”
It also allocates $4 million to deploy smart streetlights, which will be placed throughout the city to help solve crime and investigate collisions involving fatal and serious injuries.
Critical new positions are being added to the Fire-Rescue Department, including four positions that will be focused on fire safety inspections and hazardous-materials management and two new lifeguard positions for La Jolla Shores beach, with one of those positions for the winter months for year-round coverage.
The budget also funds the Lifeguard Division's biannual Advanced Lifeguard Academy, a 10-week lifeguard academy that provides advanced training in law enforcement, cliff rescue and water rescue and other advanced disciplines.
Funds from the settlement of litigation with opioid manufacturers totaling $4.4 million will be deployed across homelessness, medical services and law enforcement, with $2.7 million going to fund harm-reduction and safe-haven shelters and the balance split between funding the PLEADS restorative justice program ($762,000); new vehicles for the Resource Access Program, which aids high-needs 911 callers who typically struggle with chronic mental health or substance use issues ($775,000); and equipment to help law enforcement detect fentanyl ($196,000).
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND EQUITY
While the FY24 budget is balanced for a single year, its development considers future years and accounts for the likelihood of a revenue dip in the next few years that could necessitate cuts.
The spending plan was developed to avoid creating new programs that will later need to be cut, and also adds $6.8 million to General Fund reserves, bringing the City’s total reserves to a responsible level.
It also keeps in reserve for future years the $52 million balance of the $120 million excess equity fund – funds created when expenditures are lower than projected, revenues are higher than expected, or both.
The budget is also the first developed under a Budget Equity Framework designed to ensure department-level budget requests and proposals were evaluated with an equity lens to identify disparities and begin the process of eliminating them so that, ultimately, no neighborhood will be left behind.
“Budgets are statements of priorities and determine allocations of resources, making the budget-development process a great opportunity to evaluate how we might be favoring one neighborhood or group of people over another in ways that contribute to disparities,” said Kim Desmond, the City’s Chief Race and Equity Officer. “That work is happening now. It will take many cycles to eliminate disparities that in some cases have grown over generations, but this budget is a great first step, and I’m grateful for the enthusiastic participation by department heads in efforts to infuse equity into decisions to better serve all San Diegans.”
Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe, who chairs the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee, encouraged residents to weigh in on the Proposed Budget to have their input considered for revisions before the final budget is adopted.
“As chair of the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee, my commitment is to provide transparency and to ensure the public is fully aware and educated about the City’s budget,” said Council President Pro Tem Montgomery Steppe. “We want to hear from you as you play an important role in the process of ensuring the adopted budget represents the diversity of our City and is representative of the needs of our vulnerable and underrepresented communities.”
City Council Budget Review Committee meetings are underway, leading up to the release of a revised budget on May 18 that incorporates City Council and community feedback. Final consideration by the City Council will take place in mid-June, with the adoption of an appropriation ordinance due no later than June 30.