Mayor: Two-year budget focuses on economic recovery

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Thursday signed The City’s two-year budget, cementing money aimed at helping recovery from COVID-19,...

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Thursday signed The City’s two-year budget, cementing money aimed at helping recovery from COVID-19, but said the fast-spreading delta variant remained worrisome.

The signing at City Hall, comes after Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave final approval to the $13.1 billion budget for 2021-22 and $12.8 billion budget for 2022-23.

“I’m excited, to be signing this two-year budget today after months of hard work from everyone involved. It is something that we should all be proud of,” Breed said in a statement. “With these investments, we are addressing our most pressing issues by prioritizing the residents and businesses that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. This budget will lay the groundwork for our city’s economy and set San Francisco on a path to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

Supervisor Matt Haney, the board’s budget chair said, “This is a recovery budget that will provide critical support for our residents and small businesses who are still struggling due to the impacts of this pandemic. It will launch new innovative approaches and provide historic investments to confront the health, mental health, economic, housing and safety challenges facing our city.”

The two-year budget includes nearly $525 million for COVID-19 response, including initiatives that will aid economic recovery, including: a Free Muni for Youth pilot program; programs to address students’ learning loss; community ambassadors and efforts to revive downtown; workforce development programs; waived and reduced fees for businesses; and rental relief funding.

The $525 million also includes $378 million for the continuance of COVID-19 shelter response, food security programs and COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts.

Other expenditures include over $1 billion in local, state and federal resources for homelessness and housing; $300 million in mental health and substance use services; and $60 million for the Dream Keeper Initiative, which reinvests funds in services and programs that support the Black community.

With the budget signed and wheels set in motion for economic recovery, and as schools are set to start in weeks, Breed said The City is considering possibly reinstating mask mandates for vaccinated and unvaccinated people in response to the rapid rise of the delta variant.

She said her office also is discussion with the City Attorney’s Office over potential “mandatory vaccines for folks who are not necessarily just city employees.”

— Bay City News

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