San Diego’s streets and other infrastructure will continue to deteriorate under new Mayor Bob Filner’s budget.
Filner’s budget leaves the city tens of millions of dollars short in funding needed to keep streets and other infrastructure from getting worse next year, and cuts or delays more than $80 million from a City Council-approved spike in spending. Filner also left out a planned evaluation of city buildings and a proposed first-ever examination of sidewalks, which were designed to detail their poor condition.
“We hope to get to that very quickly,” Filner said at a press conference Monday morning.
Filner and his staff blamed the slower infrastructure spending on the nearly $40 million deficit he inherited from predecessor Jerry Sanders. Filner touted that he closed the gap without cuts to services, save the $1.4 million he’s diverting from political rival and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s budget.
But even though the city’s deficit problems were known a long time ago, Filner made promises on the campaign trail and after his election to boost infrastructure spending.
Notably, Filner had pledged to devote more than $20 million from a legal settlement in the 2007 wildfires toward new or replacement police, fire and lifeguard facilities. Now that money’s going to plug the deficit.
Filner did provide some additional money toward infrastructure needs in his budget and elsewhere, possibly redirecting some of the cash he took from council-approved spending for different projects. He wants to add nine new jobs for city public works in response to an audit that showed significant facilities repair needs. Filner’s budget and other council action addresses a new police dispatch system, a cliff-rescue vehicle for lifeguards, a new fire station in Mission Valley and a staffer to manage bike programs.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified the amount of infrastructure repair cash Filner had cut from previous council-approved spending plans.
Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next?
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