San Francisco budgeting process lacked fireworks of years past 

Revenue growth attributed in part to a booming tech industry translated to a relatively peaceful Board of Supervisors review of Mayor Ed Lee's budget proposal for San Francisco.

In past years during what is known as the "add-back" process, negotiations over funding among the mayor, nonprofit groups and supervisors themselves have gone long into the night and have included some spirited political fights. This year, $25 million in funding changes for the fiscal year that starts today were made without much debate.

Thursday's final day of a board committee's review concluded with the announcement of a budget deal at 10:30 p.m. and a veritable political lovefest. The Budget and Finance Committee was led this year by Supervisor Mark Farrell.

The committee made $25 million in funding decisions in the new fiscal year's $7.9 billion budget and $15 million for the subsequent year. San Francisco uses a two-year budgeting model.

The $25 million was cobbled together from several sources, including $9.9 million in cuts recommended by Budget Analyst Harvey Rose, who combs through department proposals looking for what he considers unnecessary positions or inflated program costs. Another $8.9 million in unspent money from the just-completed fiscal year and unexpected revenue during the final months seemingly made the task easier. And $2.3 million in savings was found by eliminating the proposed purchase of a number of vehicles with less than 100,000 miles on them.

The largest single add-back for the new fiscal year was $6.1 million for a 1.5 percent increase in pay for nonprofit workers doing business with San Francisco, followed by $3 million to completely offset federal funding cuts to services for HIV/AIDS.

In last fiscal year's budget, San Francisco had to back-fill $7 million in HIV/AIDS cuts and was looking at about $13 million in cuts for the next two years.

In total, there were 110 separate add-backs. Investment in job-training programs totaled $1.8 million and $2.4 million was allocated to enhance homeless services.

There's also $665,000 to ensure the reopening of a Recreation and Park Department clubhouse in each of the 11 supervisorial districts and $750,000 for a participatory budget process that will let residents vote on how to spend that pool of money.

Small-ticket items included $45,000 for tattoo removals for gang-involved youths and $97,000 for keypad locks at a public housing site.

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