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Approved $3B Budget Includes Lifeguard at Windansea

Patch file photo by Michelle Mowad
Patch file photo by Michelle Mowad

The San Diego City Council on Monday approved Mayor Kevin Faulconer's nearly $3 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Among the spending plan's highlights are extended library hours, more officers in police academies, additional fire academies, a temporary fire station in the Skyline neighborhood to reduce response times, and more money for infrastructure projects.

The budget, which the City Council approved on an 8-1 vote, also includes funding for a program manager to oversee the city's various sustainability programs, streetlight installation, parks projects, fire equipment and a lifeguard at Windansea Beach.

"This is a sound and fiscally responsible budget," said City Council President Todd Gloria. After years of trying to climb out of budget shortfalls, the city is now in "a fiscally more sustainable position," he said.

Since Faulconer unveiled his proposed budget last month, revenue projections have been increased a few times. That allowed the City Council to add several expenditures before voting on the budget.

The most notable additions were a new position to enforce code regulations for private "mini-dorms" near San Diego State University where large numbers of students room together in an off-campus house, and to restore $500,000 to the library system's materials acquisition budget.

That part of the materials line item had been reduced in Faulconer's original proposal to help pay for a new after-school tutoring program in neighborhoods with low standardized test scores. Library officials said the money was available for school tutoring because they planned a thorough review of their collections during the next fiscal year.

However, retiring library Director Deborah Barrow said that she welcomed having the funding restored.

The dissenting vote was cast by Councilman David Alvarez, who said less than 2 percent of funding for capital projects was being directed to neighborhoods he represents, such as Barrio Logan and San Ysidro.

"Unfortunately, the neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades will continue to see the city ignore their needs for one more year," said Alvarez, who lost to Faulconer in February's mayoral runoff election. "If you look at this budget, it becomes quite apparent to me that in the current administration, some communities are more equal than others."

The budget also includes funding for a city department that focuses on performance and analytics, for consolidating the currently decentralized communications staff, and for boosting a fund that pays out legal settlements.

Faulconer plans to sign the budget Tuesday.

—City News Service

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