Muni nets funds, but balks at call to roll back cuts 

After lobbying for months, Muni finally $7 million it had requested, but the allocation is likely to create more questions than answers for the agency.

Faced with an $11.5 million deficit for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, Muni requested the $7 million from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, a public agency that monitors The City’s transportation tax and is governed by the Board of Supervisors.

Typically, the county authority only dispenses funding for capital projects, but Muni officials want to use the money — which will go toward rehabilitating transit vehicles — to help balance its operating budget, an unprecedented request.

As a result of the special circumstances, the TA agreed Tuesday to release the funding, provided that Muni scales back its proposed 10 percent service reduction (set to go into effect May 8) to 5 percent.

Rolling back the service reductions would leave Muni with a $14 million hole for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1,
and would go against balance-budgeting measures that were approved last week by the agency’s board of directors.

If the agency declines the allocation, it would be left with a $7 million deficit for this fiscal year, leaving it just two months to make up the shortfall.

Muni Executive Director Nathaniel Ford said he will discuss the options with directors, but said he’s not sure what can be done. Muni already approved a budget for the next two fiscal years, and because the scheduling has been completed for the service reductions, the changes couldn’t even be rolled back until Sept. 1.

“We have a lot of discussions to undertake in the next couple of weeks,” Ford said. “But right now, I’m wondering how the financial physics are going to work out.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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