WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — City’s Two-Year Budget Invests in Residents to Ensure San Francisco Remains a Safe, Resilient City with Additional Services to Address Homelessness, Quality of Life, Police Reforms, Violence Prevention & Public Safety While Preserving High Level of City Services
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today signed the City’s two-year balanced budget for Fiscal Years 2016-17 and 2017-18. To deliver this two-year consensus budget proposal, Mayor Lee worked with the Board of Supervisors and heard directly from residents and community leaders throughout the City, by meeting with residents, nonprofit organizations, City Commissioners, labor, business owners, and advocates to discuss priorities and address concerns including homelessness, quality of life, police reform, violence prevention and public safety.
“Today San Francisco is in the strongest financial position in our City’s history, allowing us to make significant investments that will improve the quality of life for all City residents. From increased library hours to greater expenditures on homelessness, housing and transit as well as dedicated dollars to police reform, we are making our City stronger by addressing challenges that impact our residents on a daily basis,” said Mayor Lee. “I thank Budget and Finance Committee Chair Supervisor Mark Farrell and the other members of that committee for leading this process, as well as the entire Board of Supervisors for approving this responsible balanced budget. City government plays an important role in making the lives of all residents better, and we are using this time of prosperity to invest in all San Franciscans and protect against future economic uncertainty.”
“In my fourth year as the Board’s Budget Chair, I am proud to have lead the Board’s efforts in putting together and approving a City budget that reflects our shared priorities and values as San Franciscans,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “After months and months of tough work and negotiations, our City budget places top priority on reducing homelessness, enhancing public safety, addressing affordability and the cost-of-living, improving the quality of life, and protecting against the next economic downturn.”
“Everyone in the City is concerned about homelessness, affordability, and public safety—myself included,” said Board President London Breed. “This budget invests in new and effective measures to address those issues, and it helps ensure every San Franciscan feels part of our rising economic tide. I thank my colleagues and all the stakeholders for our collaborative effort to pass another balanced, on-time budget.”
The City’s two-year balanced budget for Fiscal Years (FY) 2016-17 and 2017-18 is $9.6 and $9.7 billion, respectively. With a strong economic foundation, Mayor Lee has invested like never before in affordable housing, transportation, public education, public safety, and quality of life in neighborhoods, all while maintaining record reserve levels and achieving the highest credit rating in the City’s history. San Francisco has led the nation in addressing homelessness, developing a Housing Trust Fund, increasing the minimum wage, re-envisioning the Housing Authority, and making Muni free for low-income seniors, youth, and people with disabilities. The City’s budget continues those efforts.
The City and County of San Francisco is a major employer, and as in prior years, approximately half of the City’s budget will be spent on staff to provide core City services. The City’s budget includes funding for approximately 30,800 employees, representing a 4.1 percent growth in the labor force over the previous year. This is largely due to continued implementation of the Mayor’s six-year public safety hiring plan at the Police and Fire departments, opening of the new Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and continued implementation of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s largest service increase in decades.
This year, Mayor Lee focused on three main areas in the budget: homelessness, violence prevention and police reforms, and quality of life in neighborhoods.
Homelessness & Supportive Housing
The City’s budget includes the creation of the new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (DHSH), whose mission will be to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time. The new department will aid Mayor Lee in achieving his goal to help at least 8,000 people permanently exit homelessness by 2020. DHSH will achieve this through increased coordination of, and investment in, the City’s nationally recognized outreach, intervention, and supportive housing services. With increased coordination, new investments, and a clear and singular focus, the City will be able to provide more exits from homelessness for many more people.
As well as creating this new department, the budget includes a significant increase in funding for services for homeless residents and families. This is possible because of a consensus process to move forward with a sales tax increase on the November ballot.
Violence Prevention, Police Reforms & Public Safety
The City’s budget includes a $20 million comprehensive reform package that invests in violence prevention programs and funds reforms at the Police Department to build greater trust between police officers and the community with increased oversight, transparency, and accountability.
The new funding is first and foremost for violence prevention efforts that are proven to work and show results for the City’s residents most at-risk of entering the criminal justice system. The City’s budget includes an investment of $11.4 million over two years to strengthen communities impacted by violence and provide training, opportunities, and alternatives to communities to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.
Over the next two years, $4.6 million will be invested to fundamentally re-engineer the way police officers use force. The additional training for police officers will focus on implicit bias, cultural competency, and crisis intervention while enhancing police reforms underway. The budget also fully funds the Department’s Body Camera Program over the next two years, which will equip every patrol officer with a body worn camera. Departmental oversight will be increased with new funding for the Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) over two years, which will support an increase in investigators, ensuring a timely and thorough response to every officer involved shooting.
Improving the Quality of Life in Neighborhoods
Unique and diverse neighborhoods are what make San Francisco a wonderful place to live, and the City’s budget includes funding for services to support the Mayor’s new, neighborhood-based Fix-It Teams with their strategy of “See it, Fix it.” As City workers observe improvements that can be made, clean-ups that need addressing, or people that need help, interdepartmental teams will fix what they can on the spot, and call for additional resources as needed. Investments that will further improve quality of life in our neighborhoods include more than $6.1 million in new funding for enhanced street cleaning across the City, and two new Pit Stop mobile toilet locations to expand the program to 15 locations. With the addition of 30 staff and 6 new steamer units, Public Works will remove over 2,000 additional tons of garbage from City streets over the next two years.
Mayor Lee’s six-year police hiring plan, which is now fully funded over the next two years, will accelerate hiring to increase the number of police officers in neighborhoods. The City plans to add two more police classes in the current year, for a total of seven. This is in addition to the three planned classes in Fiscal Year 2016-17 and another two in the following year, putting the City on pace to meet its goal of 1,971 sworn officers by 2017.
Vital to neighborhoods are parks and libraries, which serve as hubs of activity and community building. The budget includes over $29 million for capital investments in Recreation and Parks playgrounds, parks, and facilities. Over the coming year, the Library will expand service hours at 14 neighborhood branches across San Francisco, increasing their hours from 45 to 50 hours per week (a five percent increase system wide).
The City’s budget also invests in seismically strengthening the seawall, funding critical first responder equipment and replacing critical public safety radios.
Mayor Lee and the Board of Supervisors have worked together to close a $250 million two-year General Fund shortfall without cutting services. The City budget balances the need for increased and enhanced services for City residents with the need to ensure long-term financial stability and invest in the City’s infrastructure. In addition to making smart one-time investments and being strategic about initiatives brought to voters to ensure they are affordable over the long term, this budget also continues to grow the City’s reserves to offset the impact if an economic downturn occurs. The reserves function as the City’s savings account, protecting the City from economic uncertainty and helping continue to strengthen San Francisco’s credit rating.