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Another Delay For San Diego Infrastructure Initiative

Photo credit: Megan Wood / inewsource

Councilman Mark Kersey attends a city of San Diego council meeting, June 1, 2015.

On a 7-2 vote, the San Diego City Council on Tuesday directed the city's lawyers to rework a plan to amend the City Charter by establishing a funding stream for infrastructure projects before placing the measure on the June election ballot.

Councilman Mark Kersey's "Rebuild San Diego" plan will be tweaked by city lawyers and brought back to the council next week, when council members could vote to place the item before voters. The plan has faced delays related to other issues, including how the measure should define infrastructure.

The plan would dedicate future sales tax growth and money from reduced pension payments toward neighborhood upgrades. Changes to the charter, the city's primary governing document, need to be approved by voters.

The money would pay for new projects and cut into the city's massive deferred maintenance backlog.

The funding formula would be tied to the Consumer Price Index, a common measure of inflation, over the next 25 years. City lawyers were asked to rewrite a section in which part of the funding would have lasted 30 years.

The measure would include an opt-out provision in case a future recession reduces city revenues. The provision would kick in with a vote of two- thirds of council members.

The plan doesn't include a tax increase, so it would require only a simple majority for passage.

Three other charter amendments are up for council consideration next week. If those and "Rebuild San Diego" are all approved for the ballot, San Diego residents would have to decide the fate nine propositions in the primary election.

Councilmen David Alvarez and Todd Gloria, who oppose Kersey's plan, cast the dissenting votes. They have argued the proposal amounts to "ballot box budgeting," that the discussion over the measure has been rushed and that it would not close the city's massive infrastructure deficit.

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