School, transit and a cornucopia of other more miscellaneous services are in a well known financial bind, and the budgetary prospects dim. San Francisco and Bay Area residents can expect a few changes (many not yet guaranteed) to what they’ve become accustomed to. Below are some updates on some of the the monetarily related modifications that are in the works.
The SF School Board’s 444 page budget document is the reference point for a scheduled vote Tuesday on a tremendous number of cuts to school services. 20 percent of school activities will be sacrificed, from music to art to more mundane administrative tasks. With the combined input from, and sacrifices by, the United Educators of San Francisco, administrators and parents, an unattractive yet realistic budget was reached that will, in addition to the aforementioned cuts, also have to eliminate summer school for all but special education students and high school grads that need a few more units.
The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District is looking for a revenue boost due to a budget shortfall of $8.2 million. Even worse, this shortfall is projected to be $132 million over the next half decade. The district is considering moving to all-electronic tolling (presumably to save on labor costs), implementing pay freezes and charging $2.50 to carpoolers, who, while admirably trying to lessen their impact on our air, must still bear the brunt of a collective financial malaise. Somewhat more distressing for SF sensibilities, a proposed plan to charge pedestrians for bridge access, as well as allow “discreet” corporate advertising on district property, are being considered.
SF is weighing the necessity of implementing a litany of new fees to close our city’s $483 million budget deficit. Possible new fees include a charge of $25 for euthanization services for pets, currently offered for free, a levy on out-of-towners who wish to visit Golden Gate Park’s botanical gardens (a particularly heated proposal), and a cleanup charge, courtesy of the Fire Department, for drivers found at fault in an accident. Possible fee increases include those relating to food, street artist and plan checks by the Planning Department.
The Board of Supes are already putting off dealing with a controversial proposed one time fee for property owners to skip the condo conversion lottery, a move expected to generate $8 million in revenue and already raising the ire of tenants rights groups.
And that’s probably not the only item in San Francisco’s proposed budget that won’t be addressed today — the public comment portion of the Budget and Finance Committee meeting, which convened at 10 AM today, isn’t expected to start until 4 PM. This is when citizens concerned about Newsom’s proposed fees and cuts will appear to speak their piece, a process that some supes expect to extend until late tonight.