SF supervisors prioritize parks, homelessness in final review of mayor’s budget 

In the $23 million of changes made to Mayor Ed Lee's budget proposal, the Board of Supervisors prioritized services to combat homelessness, and support meal-delivery programs and parks, according to a list provided by the City Controller's Office.

The so-called add-back process was completed by the board's Budget and Finance Committee early Thursday morning, marking the conclusion of its review of Lee's $8.6 billion budget proposal.

The amendments were free of political fireworks, as some controversial cut proposals offered by Supervisor John Avalos ended up falling quietly by the wayside for lack of support, such as reducing road paving funding by $20 million or delaying police academy classes.

Supervisor Mark Farrell, committee chairman, praised the committee's work for investing more in homeless services, food needs and public parks. During its review, the committee cut about $10 million from city departments' individual budget proposals and about $13 million from unexpected revenue since the mayor's June 1 budget submission. The budget negotiations included the 11 board members, the mayor's Chief of Staff Steve Kawa, nonprofit leaders and community advocates.

Of the $23 million slashed, the committee voted to add $2 million to home-delivered meals; $3 million to homeless services, including rental subsidies; and $2.7 million to the Recreation and Park Department for a variety of projects, including $750,000 for more park patrol officers and $439,000 for Alta Plaza Park improvements. About $500,000 was added to pedestrian safety projects. In total, funding was added to 177 items ranging from $2,000 to $3 million.

Nonprofit workers and leaders of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents them, were critical of the committee for not funding a 1.5 percent wage increase on top of the 1.5 percent in the mayor's budget plan, which is estimated to cost nearly $7 million.

Jesse Hunter, an employee at a residential mental health program, said Thursday of the rejected raise, "I called my site this morning to talk to my co-workers about it and the office was like a funeral. People are shocked, scared and don't know what to do."

Avalos said he had hoped to satisfy more requests for funding given the "affordability crisis that we do have in this city." A list of requests had totaled $72 million at one point.

"We could do a lot better to support communities that are struggling in the city," Avalos said.

The full Board of Supervisors is expected to have its first vote on the new proposed balanced budget at its July 15 meeting.

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Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014

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