San Francisco supervisors today approved the city’s $6.6 billion budget on a 9-2 vote, after adding several changes and placing an additional $45 million from the city’s seven largest departments on reserve.
The vote came after the board and Mayor Gavin Newsom earlier this month reached a deal that included millions more for the health and human services, recreation and park services, and homeless programs.
Some supervisors had complained the mayor’s original budget disproportionately favored the police and fire departments.
Supervisor John Avalos, who chairs the Budget and Finance Committee, said though he was pleased overall, he had “mixed feelings” about the budget, which preserved some health and social programs but still resulted in hundreds of layoffs.
Avalos and other supervisors also expressed concerns about coming state cuts.
“It’s uncertain what the impact is going to be, here in San Francisco,” Avalos said.
Avalos submitted a motion that would allow the board to review any future cuts by Newsom due to the state budget. The motion was unanimously approved.
“It gives us some ability to have some dialogue back and forth as to what those cuts would actually look like,” Avalos said.
“We have some unfinished business,” remarked Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi as the board then embarked on a series of further amendments to the budget.
Mirkarimi’s motion to take $900,000 from the superior court’s indigent defense budget, and give $650,000 to the public defender’s office and $250,000 to the district attorney’s office, was approved 7-4.
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said the cut to the trial court was unjustified and the reallocation uneven.
“It doesn’t sound like parity to me,” he said.
Cuts were also made to the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s convention facilities fund and arts programs.
An additional $45 million proposed by Supervisor David Campos was placed in reserve by the board to offset any future cuts from weak state and local tax revenues. The reserve was drawn from the seven largest departments in the city, including police, public health, human services, fire, sheriff’s, emergency management and city administration.
Only Elsbernd and Supervisor Carmen Chu voted against the final budget.
Elsbernd later said the board’s changes today largely motivated his vote.
The actions “demonstrated zero understanding of the impacts on various departments,” he said.
The $45 million reserve decision, in particular, irked Elsbernd.
“That’s going too far,” he said.
“Frankly, what I think they’ve done is shot themselves in the foot, and I think they’re going to come to regret their action,” Elsbernd said.
The board will take a final vote on the budget next week before it is sent to Newsom for approval.
“We’re very pleased with the budget that was passed today by the board,” said Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard.
Ballard cited “an unprecedented level of collaboration” between the board and the mayor.
Ballard said Newsom “is likely to sign this budget” and will “work closely with the board on any adjustments that are made in the future.”