The Morning Report
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Mayor Kevin Faulconer managed to make room for lots of new things in his first budget – everything from compensation hikes for cops to after-school programs at city libraries.
But the basic skeleton of the city’s day-to-day budget remains largely the same as last year’s, when ex-Mayor Bob Filner ran the show.
Each released a nearly $3 billion budget proposal, with about $1.2 billion to apply to operating needs. Each factored in costs associated with more than 10,000 city workers. And each was tasked with balancing expenses with outside revenues largely tied to the economy and other outside forces.
While the two championed some different priorities, their financial proposals aren’t all that different. Here’s a look at each mayor’s proposed spending on major city departments.
Most slices of the pie didn’t change much but some of the amounts – particularly for the city’s police, park and recreation and transportation and storm water departments – did tick up in Faulconer’s proposal.
Faulconer’s timing helped. He arrived at the mayor’s office facing rosier financial projections and fewer unexpected budget hits than Filner encountered in last year’s budget process.
More positive assumptions about a handful of revenues led Faulconer’s budget wonks to conclude they had millions of additional dollars to work with, and that means more money for police, libraries and other needs.
Faulconer did do something in his budget that Filner didn’t. He matched ongoing revenues with ongoing expenses, a budgeting rule of thumb that Filner didn’t follow. The ex-mayor used some onetime money, such as settlements from San Diego Gas & Electric and tobacco companies, to close the budget gap he faced.
Here’s a look at those year-over-year revenue shifts between Faulconer’s budget proposal and Filner’s.
Faulconer’s budget received bipartisan props on Monday but the city’s spending plan is likely to shift by the time it’s approved the City Council in June. City Council members and residents will get a chance to dive into the details in coming weeks.
Filner’s budget changed as the process wore on. Police and the city attorney’s office were among the city departments that got more cash when more money became available through larger-than-expected revenue projections and some unexpected savings. If the same thing happens this year, Faulconer and the Council could deliver even more goodies.
Here’s a chart that shows how last year’s budget changed from Filner’s initial proposal to its passage.