San Diego/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 13, 2024
Mayor Todd Gloria Presents $5.65 Billion Budget to Navigate San Diego's Fiscal ChallengesSource: City of San Diego

To tackle San Diego's financial crunch, Mayor Todd Gloria has unveiled a $5.65 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025 to keep the city on the upswing. Despite dipping revenues and heightened costs, Gloria's plan, revealed on Thursday, maneuvers to keep city services intact by incorporating a mix of strategic cuts and one-time funding measures.

Mayor Gloria, navigating through a tricky fiscal situation, has been forced to deploy one-off financial remedies to circumvent what he dubbed "the most dire cuts." Speaking at a briefing, he stressed the urgency, stating, "With revenue down and costs rising, we had to make difficult choices in order to sustain funding for key priorities." These words, pointing to a strained budget that still strives to combat homelessness and maintain key city infrastructure, were obtained by the City of San Diego's official website.

City Councilmember Kent Lee threw his support behind Gloria's balanced approach. "I commend Mayor Gloria for proposing a balanced budget while continuing to invest in streets, homeless services and public safety," Lee said, according to a statement. He also noted his anticipation to work with the public and council to finalize the budget, focusing on critical needs like housing, infrastructure, and community safety.

As outlined on the City's website, the proposed budget earmarks an increased $26.6 million to tackle homelessness, including a project to transform City-owned land into a parking haven for the homeless and to set up the largest-ever homeless shelter in Middletown. The budget prioritizes $104.6 million for street resurfacing and dedicates substantial funds toward critical stormwater infrastructure under the WIFIA program.

Amid the balancing act, the budget does make some tough calls with cuts affecting various department budgets, including the unfortunate axing of the Office of Immigrant Affairs funding and temporarily halting contributions to the City's reserves and some grant funding programs. The City's news release indicates these were one-time necessities to prioritize essential services, and each department was prompted to review their budget decisions through an equity lens as part of the City's broader goal to address racial and economic disparities.

Following the mandatory City Charter timeline, the Mayor's next step is to formally present his proposal to the City Council by April 22, setting the stage for a series of public hearings before the revised budget sees the light in mid-May. San Diego's council is expected to make its final considerations by mid-June, with a hard deadline for adoption on June 30.