SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council Monday approved Mayor Kevin Faulconer's nearly $3 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Among the spending plan's highlights are extended library hours, more officers in police academies, additional fire academies, a temporary fire station in the Skyline neighborhood to reduce response times, and more money for infrastructure projects.
The budget, which the City Council approved on an 8-1 vote, also includes funding for a program manager to oversee the city's various sustainability programs, streetlight installation, parks projects, fire equipment and a lifeguard at Windansea Beach.
"This is a sound and fiscally responsible budget," said City Council President Todd Gloria. After years of trying to climb out of budget shortfalls, the city is now in "a fiscally more sustainable position," he said.
Since Faulconer unveiled his proposed budget last month, revenue projections have been increased a few times. That allowed the City Council to add several expenditures before voting on the budget.
The most notable additions were a new position to enforce code regulations for private "mini-dorms" near San Diego State University where large numbers of students room together in an off-campus house, and to restore $500,000 to the library system's materials acquisition budget.
That part of the materials line item had been reduced in Faulconer's original proposal to help pay for a new after-school tutoring program in neighborhoods with low standardized test scores. Library officials said the money was available for school tutoring because they planned a thorough review of their collections during the next fiscal year.
However, retiring library Director Deborah Barrow said that she welcomed having the funding restored.
The dissenting vote was cast by Councilman David Alvarez, who said less than 2 percent of funding for capital projects was being directed to neighborhoods he represents, such as Barrio Logan and San Ysidro.
"Unfortunately, the neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades will continue to see the city ignore their needs for one more year," said Alvarez, who lost to Faulconer in February's mayoral runoff election. "If you look at this budget, it becomes quite apparent to me that in the current administration, some communities are more equal than others."
The budget also includes funding for a city department that focuses on performance and analytics, for consolidating the currently decentralized communications staff, and for boosting a fund that pays out legal settlements.
Faulconer plans to sign the budget Tuesday.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
With thousands of San Diegans expected to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, lifeguards are on high alert and a have a few warnings for those headed to the water.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
A 30-year-old Vista man was arrested for drunk driving and failure to yield Saturday morning after leading Carlsbad police on a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing into a pole, according to authorities.
A man, possibly armed, and holed up inside a home in the Bay Park community for about four hours Saturday surrendered to police without incident.
Vacationing homeowners were hit by thieves in Mira Mesa, but thanks to a smartphone app, the crooks did not get away with it.
Signs warning people to stay out of the water are once again posted in Imperial Beach after a new spill from Mexico dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River - polluting the South Bay.
Two defense contractors were sentenced to prison Friday for conspiring to steal more than $3 million worth of medical equipment from Camp Pendleton that the military had planned to ship overseas to treat injured Marines.