City’s social services reap benefits of new revenue

About $28.6 million was sunk back into “unmet service needs” by a Board of Supervisors committee Thursday after it cut more than $13.1 million from Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed $5.7 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The Budget and Finance Committee was able to fund a myriad of social services by drawing on a pool of money from unexpected city revenues coupled with the budget reductions it made during the course of its seven budget hearings.

Funding additions, or “add-backs,” included $440,000 for programs supporting children and families, $1.1 million for arts programs and community centers, $4 million for violence prevention, $2.6 million for HIV/AIDS services, $1.3 million for immigrant rights, $819,000 for parks, $2 million for senior services and $3.1 million for public health services such as substance abuse programs.

“Over the last many, very difficult budget years, services in The City and investment in The City’s infrastructure have been eroded. While we weren’t able to restore all the things, this is a step in the right direction,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said.

The committee’s budget vote drew applause from many in attendance. “We’re thrilled that, overall, the Board of Supervisors took leadership and listened to working families in San Francisco,” said N’Tanya Lee, of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. “The Board of Supervisors funded $7 million of our $10million plan to help keep families in San Francisco.”

Supervisor Chris Daly, who chairs the committee, had criticized Newsom’s proposed budget from the outset for using some unexpected city revenues to fund one-time infrastructure improvements instead of an array of social services.

Leading into Thursday’s final budget hearing, Daly had referenced a list of “unmet service needs” totaling about $80 million, and indicated he would attempt to fund as many of these as possible.

The committee reductions to the operating budget were about $4 million more than last year, which was expected since Newsom’s budget showed a $400 million increase. The reductions spanned most city departments and included a $909,000 cut to the City Attorney’s budget and a $927,000 cut to the public health department.

About $1.7 million in emergency service costs were cut as a result of securing federal grant money. The Controller’s Office announced Thursday The City would receive $14.8 million in additional revenue, about $6 million more than announced earlier this month.

The Board of Supervisors will review the budget in July.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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