Newsom’s budget proposal spends more on streets

After accusing the Board of Supervisors of spending money The City didn’t have, Mayor Gavin Newsom unveiled a record $6.1 billion budget for the 2007-08 fiscal year that includes millions of dollars in new funding for more police, homeless workers and Muni operators, as well as added money for street improvements, playgrounds and homeownership programs.

The proposed budget also includes funding for three initiatives championed by the mayor: $5 million to kick-start a $100 million effort to rebuild dilapidated public housing; $700,000 to get a new court program in the Tenderloin up and running; and money for call takers for The City’s new 311 government hotline.

In order to balance the bottom line, Newsom asked city departments to enact a 3 percent cut, which would generate approximately $24 million.

The balanced budget is larger than the $5.75 billion spending plan for the 2006-07 fiscal year, boosted by $126 million leftover from this year’s budget, due to higher-than-projected revenues.

In May, the Board of Supervisors approved two spending measures for the $126 million surplus, one for $28 million for affordable housing and a second for $5 million for a city-sponsored down-payment loan program. Newsom sent both bills back unsigned and said The City could not afford to spend the allocated funds, citing a projected $25 million budget shortfall.

“It sounds to me like he’s stealing from affordable housing, which the board approved, to fund his pet projects,” said Supervisor Chris Daly, chair of the board’s budget committee, and an outspoken critic of the mayor.

Newsom’s budget, which he called “defensible,” allocates $8.5 million to help rennovate sports fields, as well as an additional $5.4 million for the Department of Public Works for street paving and repair. The mayor — noting that homeless encampments are on the rise in Golden Gate Park — also wants to invest $1.1 million to create a dedicated “park patrol” unit in the 1,000-acre park.

To balance the budget, San Franciscans will see some “modest” fee increases, Newsom said, for some Recreation and Park usages, to retrieve towed cars for parking violations and to park in city-owned garages.

There will be some service cuts, but none “where people are disproportionately burdened,” Newsom said.

The Mayor’s Office is scheduled to deliver a full budget proposal to the Board of Supervisors today.

Budget proposal

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s $6.1 billion budget proposal includes new funding for:

» 250 new police officers

» 150 new Muni operators and 18 street supervisors

» $51.4 million more for homeownership programs

» $8.5 million more to rebuild playgrounds

» $5.4 million more for street paving and repairs

» $700,000 for the new Tenderloincourt

» 23 new homeless outreach staff

» 15 new gardeners

» 35 new custodians

» 28 new street sweepers for Clean Corridors program

» More 311 call takers

» $7 million more for affordable housing

Source: Mayor’s Office

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