Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer
Friday, June 9, 2017 - NEWS RELEASE
San Diego – Today Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer used his veto powers to make several changes to the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, including increasing election funding and adding funds to bolster police officer recruitment and retention efforts.
Mayor Faulconer is urging the City Council to call a special election in November so the public can vote on two time-sensitive initiatives. The first is a tourism measure that would modernize and expand the Convention Center – a project that is seeing construction costs rise by $3.6 million per month – and create dedicated funding streams to address San Diego’s homeless crisis and fix streets. The second is a citizens’ initiative to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego, build a river park and redevelop the Qualcomm Stadium site at no cost to taxpayers. A third-party appraisal released Tuesday valued the Mission Valley properties at $110 million, an amount that would generate millions of dollars in annual revenue for the City when leased at fair market value.
“Several city councilmembers, who have publicly supported the convention center expansion, fixing our streets and helping the homeless, are being squeezed by their political backers to kill these ballot measures. I urge them to vote their conscience, use this restored funding to call a special election and let the public have the final say,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Make no mistake about it, this is one of the most consequential votes this City Council will ever take. This City Council can stand in the way of progress or give voters the chance to create more jobs, fix our roads, reduce homelessness and build a world-class development that will generate millions of dollars for neighborhood services and public safety.”
Mayor Faulconer included $5 million in his proposed budget for election funding, but the City Council voted Monday to remove that funding. The mayor’s veto makes various other modifications, including shifting funding from some City Council budgets and projected FY2017 budget surplus to the Police Department retention program. The use of those funds, totaling $1 million, will be determined through discussions with the Police Officers Association.
The City Charter requires a supermajority of the City Council – six of nine votes – to override a mayoral veto. At Monday’s budget hearing, only five Councilmembers expressed support for removing the special election funds. Four councilmembers at the hearing – Chris Cate, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf – expressed support for leaving the election funding in the budget.
“I believe it would have been prudent to set aside the funding for a special election, and deliberate about the merits of a November special election at a future date,” said Councilmember Cate. “That is why I support the Mayor’s decision to use his veto power, and restore special election funding, so we may have a full discussion in the coming weeks.”
“I do not believe cutting funding for a special election is the best way to address concerns about SoccerCity and the Convention Center expansion,” said Councilmember Kersey. “I support the Mayor’s use of veto authority to replace the $5 million in the budget for a potential special election, so that this option can be vetted separately in the coming weeks. The public deserves the opportunity to weigh-in and have meaningful, standalone debates on major civic decisions.”
“The Convention Center expansion is a top priority for San Diego's economic prosperity and I fully support the Mayor's veto authority to grow this economic engine,” said Councilmember Zapf. “Despite a tough budget year, due to the unexpected increase in the pension payment, I am pleased we have been able to avoid cuts to important services like public safety, libraries and parks, recreation programs and road improvements.”
The City Charter grants the mayor the authority to “approve, veto, or modify any line item approved by the Council.” The City Council has five business days to override any vetoes or modifications made by the mayor. Any item in the proposed budget that was vetoed or otherwise modified by the mayor shall remain as vetoed or modified unless overridden by the Council.
The City Council will consider calling a November 2017 special election and whether to place the tourism measure on that ballot on Monday, June 12. A week later, on Monday, June 19, the City Council will consider the “SoccerCity” initiative.
“The City Council and I are united in supporting our police officers, who maximize their resources every day to keep our neighborhoods safe. The councilmembers who made the motion to amend my budget proposal said they wanted more resources for police, so I have reallocated funding from their office budgets for that very purpose,” said Mayor Faulconer, who had already reduced his office budget by 4.2 percent for FY2018. “This additional funding will help us keep the best officers working at SDPD to protect the people of San Diego.”
The following are Mayor Faulconer’s budget modifications:
Climate Action Plan