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Quality of Life

Todd Gloria releases revised budget, featuring fewer cuts to services

After weeks of feedback from community members, Todd Gloria said the city can fund several programs previously on the chopping block. KPBS reporter Katie Anastas has more.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria released his updated budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25 on Tuesday, still reflecting a $172 million deficit but featuring fewer cuts to services than the previous spending plan.

"The substantial deficit facing our city required tough decisions — none of which I took lightly," Gloria said. "The final proposed budget released today is a fiscally prudent strategy that protects essential city services and provides additional funding for programming at our libraries and parks, as well as homelessness prevention programs.

"As your mayor, I committed to San Diegans that I would draw upon my years of experience to guide us through this difficult financial time and avoid major impacts like browned-out fire stations, reduced hours at libraries or shuttered recreation centers," he continued. "This budget is balanced and on- time and protects the progress we've made on the issues San Diegans care about most."


The proposed budget represents a 9.1% increase over FY 2023's $5.12 billion budget.

March's initial $5.65 billion budget received mixed reviews from the San Diego City Council and the public, which called out cuts to equity programs, police and fire academies and some parks and libraries.

Since then, following up on council budget meetings and public comment, Gloria has taken other actions to save money, including suspending non-essential spending in city departments and ensuring the city is filling "only the most critical positions" before the end of the fiscal year.

"Advocacy makes a difference, and this is no better demonstrated than by the updates in the mayor's May revision restoring priority programs," Council President Pro Tem Joe LaCava said. "The community spoke, the council listened, and the mayor responded by restoring programs that protect neighborhoods, prevent evictions, and act on our homelessness crisis."

Additionally, Gloria proposed sweeping balances from some special funds into the city's general fund, suspending contributions to reserves and using one-time measures such as requesting that the San Diego Housing Commission use $15 million in its reserves to partially fund existing programs.


"Now, amidst these unprecedented fiscal challenges, we at the Housing Commission understand that it is imperative that we provide resources to focus on supporting those who rely on us," said Mitch Mitchell, chair of the San Diego Housing Commission.

The city's independent budget analyst, Charles Modica, said that while the proposed budget might not have what everyone is looking for, it is balanced and "reflects the city's precarious position" as it looks forward.

According to Modica, the cuts proposed this year are planned as one-time slashes to the budget, but next year may see more significant, permanent cuts unless San Diego can secure another source of revenue.

Among the projects allocated is the proposal to turn H Barracks, the city-owned former Navy land adjacent to San Diego International Airport, into roughly 200 spaces for the city's Safe Parking Program — nearly doubling the program's capacity.

Another allocation is for the proposed 1,000-bed shelter located at Kettner Boulevard and Vine Street in Middletown — which is far from being a done deal, as the council continued to hold closed meetings to discuss it.

Final consideration by the City Council will take place in mid-June, with adoption of an appropriation ordinance due no later than June 30.

Copyright 2024, City News Service, Inc.