Approval of San Francisco budget delayed by funding tiffs 

Talks about how to reallocate nearly $20 million in Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed $6.8 billion budget stretched into the night Thursday amid concerns of cuts to social services, contracting out security at hospitals and funding a police academy class.

After two weeks of combing through Lee’s proposed budget, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee put together millions of dollars from budget cuts and unexpected sales tax revenue. Disagreements among supervisors on how to reallocate that money prompted Supervisor Carmen Chu, who chairs the committee, to delay Thursday’s 1 p.m. meeting to vote on the budget as board members worked out their differences in private.

With a number of competing interests, an agreement had yet to be reached by 10 p.m. There was disagreement on whether to fund a police academy class, which can cost up to $5 million. Supervisor John Avalos tweeted during the day: “Supes wrangling whether to add a police academy class no one asked for. Election year politics.”

The Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents the largest number of city workers, mounted a campaign to eliminate a proposal to use a private company to provide security at San Francisco General and Laguna Honda hospitals that would save about $4 million a year. Social services advocates were fighting to restore about $10 million in cuts to vital services.

The budget committee had made a number of cuts in city departments’ proposed spending, including overtime, jobs and office supplies. In the end, the committee had a pot of about $17 million to reallocate, which also included several million dollars from unexpected sales tax revenue. About $26 million in funding requests were identified.  

Lee’s budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning today closed a $306 million shortfall with cuts to services, no cost-of-living increases for city contracts, and unexpected revenue. His budget included the addition of 164 positions for a city workforce of 26,272.

Lee also has proposed a half-percent sales tax measure for the November ballot to partially replace the 1 percent state sales tax that expired Thursday, along with a $248 million bond to help pay for street repaving.

The full board is expected to vote on the proposal July 12.

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