A key part of my story yesterday on City Council budgets are council members’ savings accounts. To review, when council members don’t spend all the money in their budgets each year, the leftover funds go into an account that council members continue to control. Those accounts are separate from the city’s general finances.
The technical name for the account is an “infrastructure fund.” Council members use the money largely to pay for projects in their districts that aren’t funded by the city’s day-to-day budget.
The accounts have critics who say they’re like slush funds. Mayor Jerry Sanders has been among the detractors. But council members are fiercely protective.
Here’s a rundown of some of the projects council members have funded from their accounts.
Councilman Kevin Faulconer spent $12,248 in May 2008 on 30 trash cans and 50 seagull-proof lids for parks in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.
Councilman Todd Gloria spent $600 in November 2009 for permit costs for a youth tennis program in City Heights.
Councilman Tony Young spent $20,000 in April 2009 for weed removal in his district.
Councilwoman Donna Frye spent $19,198 in December 2009 to pay for an administrative position in the City Clerk’s Office to deal with open-meetings compliance.
Councilman Ben Hueso spent $19,900 in July 2009 to keep a swim team active at Memorial Pool.
And here’s how much money each council member had left in his or her account as of last June.
- Sherri Lightner, $71,176.44
- Kevin Faulconer, $308,260.27
- Todd Gloria, $117,506.08
- Tony Young, $15,662.20
- Carl DeMaio, $309,836.05
- Donna Frye, $388,193.03
- Marti Emerald, $173,106.39
- Ben Hueso, $79,095.48
— LIAM DILLON