This year’s budget of $11 billion covers the 2018–19 fiscal year, which starts on July 1, 2018 and ends June 30, 2019. Comparing our budget to other cities is difficult because San Francisco is a city and a county; most places have separate city and county services, but we administer all services together. Additionally, San Francisco operates a major international airport and provides public utilities.
The overall budget is split between self-supporting “enterprise” departments and General Fund departments. Enterprise departments such as the San Francisco International Airport, the Port, the MTA, and the PUC fund their operations by charging customers for services. The enterprise departments account for about half of the budget, at $5.5 billion.
The General Fund makes up the remaining half of the budget, another $5.5 billion. This portion is what people typically refer to when they discuss the city government and its budget. Public safety, human services, and the Department of Public Health are the largest expenses in the General Fund. These categories provide an array of services, including the Police Department, Fire Department, S.F. General Hospital, and homeless services. Mandatory spending measures voted on by residents, including baseline spending for safety, transportation, and children’s services, comprise another significant portion of the $5.5 billion. The remainder of the General Fund budget supports all other city departments, including Public Works, the sheriff, Rec and Park, and several other agencies.
The mayor’s office creates the initial budget by June 1 of each year, which the Board of Supervisors then reviews for final approval. As a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, I actively work on this review to ensure that the mayor has proposed a budget that aligns with city priorities. During this review, the board typically makes small changes.
INVESTMENTS IN SAFE AND CLEAN STREETS
San Francisco is taking immediate steps to ensure our streets are safe and clean. I strongly advocated for two of former Mayor Mark Farrell’s initiatives in this budget: adding sworn personnel in the Police Department and investing in more workers to keep our streets clean.
The Police Department received an additional $34 million to add 250 sworn personnel over the next four years, including 130 officers in the police academy for the next fiscal year. The additional officers will help the department increase foot patrols and combat the shocking increase in car break-ins we have experienced over the last few years. These new staff will support the Healthy Streets Operation Center, interagency response to homelessness, and coordinated care of behavioral and mental health services.
San Francisco is a beautiful city, and our streets should not be littered with garbage, needles, and other filth. The city budget added almost $13 million over the next two years, a 20 percent increase, to improve street cleaning services. Additional funding goes toward adding four staff members specifically dedicated to keeping District 2 clean and a team focused on needle cleanup citywide.
As a resident of Cow Hollow for nearly two decades, I am committed to fighting for our District 2 neighborhoods and residents. I am determined to make San Francisco the safe, clean, and beautiful place we all know it can and should be. This budget only represents the first steps in addressing the problems facing our city. Additional street cleaning will help, but it does not address the root causes of the challenges San Francisco faces.
I plan to work with Mayor Breed, the rest of the Board of Supervisors, and officials in Sacramento to address issues around homelessness, public safety, and affordability.
I have called for an audit of funds to nonprofits that provide services to homeless individuals. To best help those struggling with homelessness, we must ensure the city is wisely spending funds and getting results. I will advocate for more supportive housing to get people back on their feet.
I will also fight to expand the city’s ability to use conservatorship for those with severe mental health issues. We must end the continuous cycle of moving individuals with mental health issues from the streets to an ambulance and a hospital, only for them to end up back on the streets. The city’s first responders and public health officials must work together to end this revolving door and get people the services and housing they need.
I am eager to hear your thoughts on solving San Francisco’s most pressing problems. Please contact me at [email protected] or my office at 415-554-7752 to discuss your ideas.