San Diego Commitment Budget Proposal would fund street appraisal and raise money for arts

San Diego Commitment Budget Proposal would fund street appraisal and raise money for arts

The city conducted assessments in 2011 and 2016, but former Mayor Kevin Faulconer canceled the effort scheduled to begin last year because of budget constraints. The $700,000 streets assessment would determine the city roads that most need repairs, helping city officials spend paving money more effectively. The $2 million boost in arts funding would bring annual spending to $9.1 million. Tevlin noted that would still be far short of a $17.4 million city goal.

Tevlin’s recommendations are based on suggestions from multiple City Council members submitted in late May, so the council is expected to include most or all of them in the $1.6 billion budget it adopts Monday for the fiscal year that begins July 1. More than $1.4 million of it would come from $306 million in federal pandemic relief San Diego was awarded this spring. Tevlin’s proposal would preserve $113.4 million of the money in case the local economic rebound falters.

Because the local economy appears to be picking up steam, Tevlin suggested council members may feel comfortable spending some of the remaining $113.4 million in federal stimulus on Monday. The $9.1 million in proposed new spending would be covered by a $3 million rebate from the county Registrar of Voters, $3.7 million from the city’s new franchise deal with San Diego Gas & Electric, and some other new money.

There would also be $700,000 more for streetlight installation, $500,000 citywide and $200,000 earmarked specifically for communities of concern — low-income and ethnically diverse neighborhoods the city has neglected in the past. The $500,000 would boost general streetlight spending from $1.2 million to $1.7 million. The money for communities of concern would rise from $250,000 to $450,000. She also proposes $900,000 more for tree trimming, which would increase the city’s annual outlay from $2.3 million to $3.2 million. The boost would allow the city to trim shade trees at a pace of once every 10 years instead of once every 24 years.

Tevlin’s proposal also includes $350,000 for a new Office of Child and Youth Success, which would focus on increasing access to quality childcare, boosting school enrollment rates and encouraging more women to work. Spending on graffiti removal would double, from $150,000 to $300,000. Tevlin says city staff focused on graffiti told her that would be enough to respond to all requests for graffiti removal during the new fiscal year.

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