Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, chair of the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, announced late Wednesday night a deal was reached on Mayor London Breed’s city budget proposal. (Kevin S. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Supes reach city budget deal with mayor, approve $44M in ‘add-backs’ over two years

A budget deal was reached at 11:30 pm Wednesday between the Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed, resulting in increased spending on affordable housing, homelessness, seniors and mental health.

The deal came after the board’s Budget and Finance Committee, which was chaired by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, spent weeks making cuts and adjustments to Breed’s $12 billion budget proposal to create a pool of revenue to allocate to other priorities, a process known as “add-backs.”

In total, the committee unanimously approved $44 million in add-backs over two years, with $27 million in the next fiscal year that begins July 1.

The committee also came to an agreement with Breed on how to spend tens of millions of dollars from the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund, a state program that has recently returned local property tax revenue.

Fewer said that “because of our partnership with the Mayor’s Budget Office, I think that this process has been less painful than it has been in the past and less adversarial.”

Fewer said that she met with Breed “on a regular basis to update about what we were doing on the budget.”

Add-backs included things like $900,000 over two years for employment services for homeless and formerly incarcerated, $500,000 over two years to help sex workers, including with housing, and $300,000 to provide technological upgrades to San Francisco Suicide Prevention’s 24-hour Crisis Line.

The add-backs also include $2.3 million over two years for the members of the Board of Supervisors to add an administrative assistant to a staff of three legislative aides.

Each district supervisor had specific add-backs for their district that totaled $9.2 million for next fiscal year.

Both Fewer and Supervisor Gordon Mar each added $50,000 for mobile homeless services in the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods, respectively.

Supervisor Catherine Stefani’s largest add-back was $450,000 for the planned tolling of vehicles using the crooked Lombard Street.

Among District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown’s add-backs was $145,000 for power-washing commercial corridors. District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai also added $120,000 to his district for power washing commercial corridors.

Board president Supervisor Norman Yee’s add-backs for District 7 include $250,000 for pedestrian safety projects that residents will determine.

“This has been a great process,” Yee said. “We’ve been able to expand the budget to serve more people in need.”

He added that the proposal is “a package that we can all agree with.”

The package includes the use of $52 million of ERAF funding placed earlier this year in a “special educator reserve fund,” which includes $13 million for San Francisco Unified School District teacher wages, $3.5 million for mental health centers in middle schools, $13.4 million for early childcare educator stipends and $9 million in childcare subsidies to serve hundreds of children on waitlists.

The package also includes spending changes to other ERAF funds, including $5 million for senior rental subsidies to help low-income seniors qualified for income requirements in affordable senior housing, $2 million for residential treatment beds for transitional aged youth and $1 million for an “economic hardship fund” to help tenants living in single-room occupancy hotels pay less of their income on rent.

The full board will vote on the budget proposal at its next meeting on July 16.

“We started with an over $400 million add-back list of ask,” Fewer said. “It just demonstrates so much need in our city even though we have a $12 billion budget.”

Those needs were highlighted by residents and nonprofit who testified on the budget proposal for more than five hours during Monday’s budget committee hearing.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman also emphasized the needs.

“In many ways this budget process is depressing because we hear about so much need, which far exceeds anything that we have the capacity to address,” Mandelman said. “But we also get to see this amazing set of folks … who are doing the work every single day to try and meet the needs of San Franciscans in distress.”

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