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San Diegans To Weigh In On Proposed City Budget

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Michael Schuerman

A view of the San Diego Convention Center and the downtown skyline from Coronado, Feb. 14, 2015.

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You can share your thoughts on San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposed fiscal 2016 budget at a City Council meeting Monday evening.

Special Feature San Diego's Next Budget

Everything you need to follow the news and understand what's in the city of San Diego's fiscal 2016 budget.

The San Diego City Council just spent a week reviewing and questioning Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed city budget, and now it’s your turn to weigh in.

The council will hold a Monday evening session for San Diegans to comment on Faulconer's $3.2 billion suggested spending plan. Members of the public can share their budget thoughts at the 6 p.m. meeting at the City Administration Building.

RELATED: See an interactive visualization of the mayor's proposed budget

The mayor's proposal includes $1.28 billion in spending from the city's general fund, which covers key services such as the police and fire-rescue departments, parks and recreation and libraries.

The proposed fiscal 2016 budget expands these kinds of services, including longer recreation center hours and more code enforcement officers. It also allocates millions in new revenue to repairing assets like streets and sidewalks.

If approved, the general fund budget will see an increase of 6 percent compared to last fiscal year. The extra money is attributed to a recovering economy, and the mayor's budget projects $67 million in growth from San Diego's major revenue streams.

To carry out the additional services and repairs, Faulconer's budget creates more than 400 new city jobs.

According to the budget's executive summary, "These new positions are primarily focused on maintenance and repair of City streets, Municipal Storm Water Permit compliance, sworn and civilian police support, engineering support, facilities maintenance, and fleet operations maintenance."

But Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin said she was concerned about filling such a large number of jobs.

"There are also a lot of hiring challenges to bringing on that many people — time away from jobs to recruit and train, etcetera, so I'm concerned about that," Tevlin said in an interview with KPBS late last month.

Last year's budget included 279 new positions, but 98 of them were not filled as of January, Tevlin wrote in her review of the mayor's budget.

Her report also raised concerns about a lack of a long-term plan to address San Diego's infrastructure woes. The city is suffering from a $2 billion backlog in needed repairs for streets, sidewalks and city buildings.

Tevlin said the mayor has proposed about $40 million toward some of the deferred maintenance, but that's still a far cry from the amount needed.

"We need a plan in the very near future - and there’s been a lot of talk about this - but there’s nothing definitive on the horizon," she said.

But overall, Tevlin praised Faulconer's spending plan.

“This is a very good news budget for our residents," she said.

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