More Parks, Street Lights and Fire-Rescue Funding in Mayor Faulconer's Budget Update

'Neighborhoods continue to come first' in Mayor's May Revise

San Diego - Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer released an updated "One San Diego" budget proposal today that continues his focus on improving all city neighborhoods and boosting public safety. The "May Revise" to the City of San Diego Fiscal Year 2015 Proposed Budget further increases funding for neighborhood improvements and services based on increased revenue projects. The revision also includes adjustments to various department budgets that have arisen since Faulconer released the budget plan on April 14.

"Neighborhoods continue to come first in my budget proposal," said Faulconer. "We're installing more streetlights so our neighborhoods are bright and safe, building more parks for our families, and giving fire fighters and lifeguards more resources to keep us safe."

Councilmember Marti Emerald joined Faulconer for the announcement in City Heights at the site of the future Wightman Street Neighborhood Park, which will finally be built after more than a decade of community advocacy for more neighborhood park space. An additional $1 million is allocated in the May Revise to fully fund design and construction. When completed, the park will feature a large lawn and open play area, two basketball half courts, a scooter and tricycle trail, play equipment areas for young children, picnic tables and barbeques, a lighted walkway and large native trees to provide shade.

"City Heights will have a new, safe and well maintained city park to use - and this is very exciting news. This new park is a tangible product of the efforts and dedication community leaders in City Heights have long been advocating for," said Emerald, whose district includes City Heights. "With the support of Mayor Faulconer and my Council colleagues, this year's budget will begin to address the many needs of our city's communities, including those in Council District nine. Not only does this budget address the lack of park space, but it also begins to address the public safety needs of our city through the allocation of funds for more police officers, new fire stations, and increased support for our life guards."

The park is one of several new neighborhood projects funded in the revised budget. Silver Wing Neighborhood Park in Otay Mesa and Tierrasanta Community Park will see lighting improvements. Trail for All People, a 1,300 linear foot paved trail in Black Mountain Ranch, will be constructed to accommodate people of all physical abilities. And a year's worth of funding is set aside for the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority as the City works with other member agencies to review governance of the park.

Public safety continues to see gains in Faulconer's refreshed Fiscal Year 2015 budget plan. Faulconer proposes to increase citywide streetlight installation by $1 million, nearly tripling funding over his April proposal. Fire fighters will see more money for personal protective equipment and emergency operations equipment. And the lifeguard fire boat, out of service due to engine malfunction, will receive funding for repairs.

Continuing Faulconer's focus on results-oriented homeless programs, the budget revision adds funds for 25 emergency beds the San Diego Police Department Homeless Outreach Team can use to better help the homeless while officers work to connect them permanent supportive housing.

A City Council-approved plan to improve government operations is put into effect through the creation of two new departments. The Department of Performance and Analytics will focus on managed competition, government efficiencies, performance measures and strategic planning. The Communications Department restructure consolidates all of the City's existing communication-related functions into one department.

Reflecting Faulconer's commitment to fostering economic prosperity throughout San Diego, the May Revise contains the reestablishment of the Economic Development Department. This proposal will create a single department to focus on business retention and expansion, economic development issues and identifying opportunities with local, national, and international stakeholders. This reorganization will also allow the revised Planning and Neighborhoods Department to focus on California Environmental Quality Act requirements, community plan updates and urban design efforts.

Faulconer's plan to create "Economic Opportunity Districts" in low income communities get a kick start with funding to develop transit oriented development plans for Encanto and City Heights. And a Sustainability Program Manager position is proposed to oversee implementation of a climate action plan and other sustainability initiatives.

In total, the May Revise appropriates an additional $12 million, with these General Fund expenditures primarily funded by a $7.2 million increase in projected property tax revenue and $1.4 million increase in transient occupancy tax revenue.

In addition, the City continues to follow fiscally responsible budget practices by proposing a portion of the projected Fiscal Year 2014 year-end excess equity is directed increase the Public Liability Fund reserve towards the 50 percent funding target level. This funding is contingent upon its availability when the City closes its books for Fiscal Year 2014.

Released last month, Faulconer's $3 billion budget proposal has been widely praised for its focus on creating "One San Diego" where all neighborhoods are safe and vibrant. The hallmarks of Faulconer's budget plan include infrastructure and street repair, public safety, libraries and afterschool programs, and transparency initiatives. The City Council will review this revision prior to adopting the budget in June.

Read the full May Revise at http://www.sandiego.gov/fm/pdf/fy15mayrevision.pdf

CONTACT: Matt Awbrey (619) 453-9913 or [email protected]