San Diego Mayor Bob Filner answered the most persistent criticisms of his first budget with a $6.2 million boost in proposed spending for fixing streets, storm drains, facilities and other crumbling city infrastructure as part of his May budget revision released Tuesday.
The planned funding increase will not stop streets, storm drains and facilities from deteriorating further next year, nor will it make up for Filner’s decision to delay an $80 million loan targeted to pay for large-scale repairs.
But it means the city is dedicating more cash to street and other infrastructure fixes than it did last year and more than a City Council-approved plan to catch up on funding.
“It’s a good start, but certainly a lot more needs to be done,” said Councilman Mark Kersey, who heads the city’s infrastructure committee.
Filner also added to the budget long-sought evaluations of city buildings and park facilities as well as $100,000 for street light projects in City Heights and southeastern neighborhoods.
Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin, who raised major alarms about infrastructure spending in Filner’s initial budget, said her biggest remaining issue is for the city to get back on track with its annual loan program for major repairs. She wants to boost next year’s loan from $80 million to $100 million, which also increase the money in the budget needed to pay back the loan.
“They need to decide that now,” Tevlin said.
Filner left out of the budget a $1 million evaluation of the city’s 5,000 miles of sidewalks. Kersey, who had pushed hard for the sidewalk examination, said it remained important for the city to identify missing sidewalks and develop safer routes to school. He hoped it would end up in the final budget, which goes to a council vote next month.
“We want to do it as soon as we can,” Kersey said.
Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next?
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