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The way Mayor Bob Filner tells it, he arrived at his new digs at City Hall to find that the city’s financial situation wasn’t as rosy as he thought.
The mayoral candidate who promised so much acknowledged he didn’t have the cash to deliver on his campaign pledges as quickly as he wanted. That’s reflected in his first proposed budget.
He was unable to provide as much funding as he envisioned in several key areas but managed to fit some new additions in the city’s $2.75 billion budget, including more lifeguard hours and year-round access to the Alpha Project’s Emergency Winter Tent.
City Council members will weigh in on the mayor’s budget decisions in coming weeks.
Soon after Filner was sworn into office, we began tracking his campaign promises and what — if any — progress has been made on each. (You can check out the complete list of the promises we’re tracking here.)
It’s often said that an executive’s budget reflects his or her priorities, so we decided to give Filner a progress report on those campaign promises.
Click to enlarge. Graphic by Amy Krone.
We left out quite a few of Filner’s promises in this progress report. Some don’t require significant cash; others may need to be fleshed out further before they appear in the city budget.
For example, one of Filner’s boldest campaign pledges was to solar-power all public buildings in San Diego, including school facilities, within five years. But the mayor’s first budget doesn’t include details about new solar projects.
Bill Powers, an energy expert who advised Filner on the campaign trail, said the city has a handful of options to consider on that front before committing to specific projects.
It could decide to purchase or lease solar equipment, or enter into a contract with an outside firm and contribute some dollars shaved off its electric bill to that company, he said.
“They need some time to think strategically about this, about what the best approach should be,” Powers said. “It’s not the same as just a street-paving program schedule.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the amount of funding assumed in the Penny for the Arts blueprint. The five-year plan called for $1 million in additional funding midway through fiscal year 2013 and another $2.7 million in fiscal year 2014, for a total of $3.7 million.
Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at email@example.com or 619.325.0528.
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