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Economy

San Diegans Favor Parks, Libraries In Upcoming Budget

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San Diegans Favor Parks, Libraries In Upcoming Budget
San Diegans Favor Parks, Libraries In Upcoming Budget
GUESTS:Tarryn Mento, metro reporter, KPBS News Kyra Greene, researcher and policy analyst, Center on Policy Initiatives

Our top story on QPF Midday Edition. we to review and Mayor Faulconer 2016 budget last night San Diego residents had their first dance to weigh in here are a few of those The Ocean Beach library and the lifeguard tower. I'm here in support of additional maintenance staff and improved infrastructure city guides. You the Council and Mayor Faulconer irony unique position to show you care for the salt Bay Area. Entire residence and Filipino-American by allocating for the speedy development If you go to major cities like New York area London, they are self-cleaning public bathrooms and if you walked on the street and it is beginning to have in order. $3.2 billion budget focuses on police and fire services and fixing infrastructure problems. Critics say huge street and public building. And they say the specific needs of San Diego's poorest neighborhoods are not included in the budget. Karen Mento KPBS Metro welcome. And cure green is research and policy analyst with the central him policy initiative. San Diego none profit policy development center. Welcome to the program. And looking at the proposed budget. What you see is a major focus. 'S infrastructure restoring city services? You had both of them toting both of those things. Infrastructure, 300 miles of roads repaired this year street lights and expansion of city services the increasing recreation Center hours. And more police so public safety. Care did an analysis We're seeing a lot of funding for roads and those sorts of things and significant increase in the budget especially for place. Losing police officers and overtime. This budget is about the budget for fiscal 22. Where is the extra money coming from? It's been attributed to a recovering economy. At least a lot of it. Mayor and review of it protects growth in some of the cities major revenue streams so that is sales tax, property tax and transient occupancy tax. Last night public hearing. What changes did you hear the residence wanted to make to the mayor's proposal? A focus on very specific projects. As we mentioned before, lifeguard station in Ocean Beach, a request to upgrade a library in San Ysidro, a lot of people really turned out: For funding for new park also in San Ysidro in district eight that there were some more citywide initiatives I believe was dismantled back in 2013 and new books of materials. When it comes to the south of interstate eight, David Alvarez making a statement that not enough of the city's budget is going to communities in that southern part of the city. How does he like this year's budget? Before the meeting he did have a news conference to highlight projects that could deserve a little but more funding in his district. He did say overall he is fairly please. Dimension some minor tweaks. Here over there. With the revised budget. And he wanted to see that go a little bit towards the more libraries and the art. Cut over the years. On policy initiative despite an increase in funding for police. There is a lack of funding for community policing. Why is that important? Community policing his recent use makes it very clear. Did not want to be another Baltimore Ferguson and the model in the country for doing cumulative get to know the community interact it enables the community to help with policing. This is a bag I this is a kid who needs a talking to, differentiate those things. We want to is see a return to that. Who makes their job safer. It's not in the budget. Before we have any serious we have complaints, talking, they are still talking and I would like to see that while there is peace in the city. CPI sponsors the community budget We help to me in the partner among many partners. And its alliance of organization, a very faith-based organization. Community or neighborhood organizations labor unions are part of it. We have people interested but were -- what brings all of this together is a focus on equity in the budget. We are concerned especially those salt of the aid that a been neglected over time and have real need and if we are going to be one integrated city with the strongest possible face we want to see improvements across this. Everybody rise to the same level. You mentioned in your report about what you call some San Diego neighborhoods as historically underserved. What kinds of services and funding duty communities need? The city has been doing a sidewalk assessment for example. More likely to have broken sidewalks, spaces where they are missing sidewalks so what that really means is that children for the elderly our industry way because there is not a sidewalk to connect them two things. We see a lack of library time. The mayor has made a command to funding all of the libraries increasing times at the biggest libraries across the city. But what it ignores is the fact that communities tend to be lower income and people tend to rely on access to books for Internet access, the needs are graded there and we want to be attentive to that and they have not only seen the cuts, they have been seen elsewhere, suffer from a lack of revenue to fund, and there is a greater need on the services That equal is not really equal, when it comes to funding if you are dealing with a community that has a greater need and has been hit by equal cuts dumb line. One thing we other folks don't have means it is a good one in the we're trying to me. When there is a gap, you can't just allocate those equally to everyone and hope to close the gap, that never well work. One of the big criticisms of the mayor proposed budget is also one of the things that he has the highest priority about and that is about infrastructure, $40 million targeted for infrastructure but critics including the city's Independent analyst says there is no overall plan for the major repairs that are needed across the city. If you could remind us about the San Diego infrastructure backlog. The city completed an overview of the infrastructure needs and most of them, I think there is still a couple assessments that are pending that need to be done in the price that they came up was close to $4 billion. $3.87 billion to be exact. They did identify funding for more -- 2 billion, $2.16 billion I believe. Lisa to billion dollar hole I think it's $1.87 billion in the IBA said its even since its assessment was done has grown. That's hundreds of millions of dollars for storm water and sewer of rates. Street repairs, streetlights, including a lot of needs in Balboa Park. Which have gone unmet for a lot of time. We heard news stories but that recently. Has the mayor proposed a plan to fund the extra billion dollars or so and fixes that the city needs? This is getting down to the IBA criticism which highlighted is a big challenge is that he has proposed ways to streamline getting projects done to take the money that we are ready had to make that happen. But to billion dollars is a lot of money. And there doesn't seem to be a long-term plan and how to pay for it or where we are going to get the money for. She is been trying to highlight that need the hasn't really come to fruition. Actually proposed to fund this backlog. From the mayor. At this point. Little loop form. Not necessarily directly supportive of it. Councilman marker see. Committee has pitched that idea. We are waiting for the details of how that would actually play out. The independent budget analyst also has doubts about the proposed increase in city workers called for in this budget. This budget calls for 424 new positions. Was about 279 new positions and the report that as of January, 98 of them there's concerns of can we keep up with herring that people and I'll see you hire them you have to train them, might have to take away time from some of the work, the economy right now, that growth have slowed, sustain these new position and budget stumbling. Despite the criticisms that the independent budget analyst has made overall she says this is a good news budget. Does the CPI analysis find good things in this budget? Good things in the budget but I wanted to for moment to the size of the backlog. In the infrastructure in particular. We received a report from financial management with a look at all the projects that counsels over the years have proved that are in the pipeline and have some amount of money allocated to them. They have about almost a billion dollars with the projects. And they have identified aside funding is about $2 billion. That doesn't include the assessments and the other things that Karen was mentioning that are not fully click yet. We are still in the midst of doing final assessments on streets. Almost all of those spark equipment. There's a lot of those things. Every time we take another date at it it gets bigger. Whether many good things in the budget, funding for sidewalks, funding for street repairs, what we are lacking and how are we going to really dig into the spa. Every year that we don't do it. Every neighborhood is experiencing it. It will not come in one budget. And a long-term plan. Progress being made $10 million here, it is not something we will beast proposed. What is the procedure now. What happens now when does the Council vote on the buzz it To finalize budget in June. And gathered and shared with the IBA so that we can look at those to consider, that will bring up later this month the council will take that up. It will be time for more, there. Did suggest. Tweet e-mail to have your voice heard to sum it to Council member. How do they do that? How would you urge them to do that? Social media. Tweet him and talk about these things online. I am also desk all the offices. They are helpful and even if you don't quite know what your question is often reaching out to the financial management office were speaking to a clerk, they are all very helpful. Make sure you are calling those Council offices. Getting involved, writing letters. Great, thank you both, I've been speaking with current mental. KPBS and cure green the center and policy initiatives. Thank you both very much.

San Diegans Favor Parks, Libraries In Upcoming Budget
For nearly 2½ hours Monday night, community members shared their thoughts on San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Dozens of San Diegans called on the City Council to increase funding for parks and recreation, public safety and the arts in Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposed $3.2 billion spending plan.

For nearly 2½ hours Monday evening, community members shared their thoughts on Faulconer's budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The council members will review the public’s comments and provide suggestions for the mayor to consider in his May budget revision.

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

Here area a few of the items promoted by community members:

Cesar Solis Park in San Ysidro: An overwhelming number of San Diegans spoke in support of constructing the facility in Ocean View Hills. Councilman David Alvarez, who represents the area, said in a joint budget priority memo that the project was lacking $5.5 million. At Monday's meeting, Faulconer's policy adviser Katherine Johnston said the mayor's office has identified funding for the facility and the item could appear before the council next month.

• Replacing a lifeguard station in Ocean Beach: The mayor's budget shows the project needs more than $4.5 million in funding and lists it as a medium priority. The replacement structure would include an observation tower, first aid area, restrooms and garage for rescue vehicles.

• San Ysidro Branch Library: The $12 million project would expand the community's current library, which was first constructed in 1924. The mayor's budget shows it is lacking nearly 50 percent of the funds needed to complete it and lists the project as a low priority.

• Increased maintenance at Teralta Park: A community member said graffiti and litter at the City Heights park requires more resources than currently allotted. In the mayor's budget, the park is listed as one of 21 sites to receive upgrades to its playground equipment.

• Film commission: Nearly half a dozen speakers called for restoring San Diego's film commission, which was dismantled in 2013. In Faulconer's proposal, the Special Events department includes more than $260,000 for a program manager and non-personnel expenses to support the film commission.

Additionally, members of the public and the council expressed support for increasing the library materials acquisition fund, hiring more community relations officers, making the city's streets safer for walking and biking, and creating a long-term infrastructure plan to address the city's $2 billion backlog in needed improvements.

Alvarez said the mayor's budget revision due later this month could project even more revenue growth for the city beyond what is already included in Faulconer's original proposal.

Before Monday night's meeting, Alvarez organized a small rally that drew about 20 people to voice where he wants to see those extra funds invested.

Alvarez said the mayor's budget is a good start, but more can be done with additional dollars.

“This is really a call to make sure the mayor prioritizes those community issues that matter to people," Alvarez said outside the City Administration Building. "Whether it's their parks or library system or investing more in our arts, which is something that we really haven’t met our commitment to that, and so we want to make sure that that happens in the May revision of the mayor’s budget.”