SF Mayor's Priorities Clear in New Budget - NBC Bay Area

SF Mayor's Priorities Clear in New Budget



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    The budget plan is out in San Francisco. Now comes the hard part.

    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has released the first part of his proposed budget for fiscal year 2011-2012, the first step in his efforts to close a $306 million budget deficit in the city's general fund.

        On Tuesday, Lee released the annual version of a May 1 budget, which  focuses on six enterprise departments within the city that generate their own revenue or are funded with special funds, rather than by general funds.
    Those city departments are the Airport Commission, Board of Appeals, Department of the Environment, Port, Public Utilities Commission and  Rent Arbitration Board, which will see a total increase in spending of about 5 percent, according to Lee's proposal.
    The funding in the May 1 budget will be used, among other things, to invest in the city's eastern waterfront in preparation for the 2013  America's Cup sailing race and to protect the city's water supply in the event of a major earthquake, according to the mayor's office.
    "While our economy is slowly stabilizing after the sharp downturn over the past several years, we must continue working to steer the city back  toward long-term economic and financial stability," Lee said in a statement.
    "Investments in transportation and infrastructure, utilities, the airport and the port are critical for creating thousands of jobs today and critical for our city's tomorrow," he said.
    The proposal is the start of what could be contentious budget negotiations leading up to Lee's June 1 deadline to submit a balanced budget to the Board of Supervisors for the city's general fund departments.
    As part of his efforts to close the $306 million deficit, the  mayor has asked all city departments to provide 10 percent savings to the general fund through budget cuts or increased revenue.
    Lee is also working with other city officials to develop a proposal for the November ballot to reform city employees' pension plans, which are expected to approach $800 million in costs over the next five years.
    "This budget is not about making new promises; it is about fulfilling the promises we've already made," Lee said. "We need to shift to a longer-term view of our city's finances, and begin to think practically and  strategically about the steps we need to ensure San Francisco remains the  exciting, diverse city we love."
    The mayor's proposed May 1 budget is available online at this link.

    Bay City News