Mayor Kevin Faulconer in the San Diego City Council chambers. Photo by Chris Stone
Mayor Kevin Faulconer in the San Diego City Council chambers. Photo by Chris Stone

Mayor Kevin Faulconer Tuesday proposed spending $39 million above his original budget recommendations for the city of San Diego’s upcoming fiscal year.

The additional money, most of which will go to reserve accounts, are a combination of revisions to the original $3.3 billion spending plan that was issued last month, and use of a projected surplus from the current year.

A lot of the proposed new spending either addresses issues in which the original plan received criticism or responds to demands from the community.

The mayor’s latest proposals include:

— $4.7 million to resolve longstanding staffing shortfalls among officers and dispatchers in the San Diego Police Department;

— $487,000 to add two dozen prospective firefighters to academies;

— $1.5 million to rehabilitate a medical library building in Balboa Park;

— $700,000 to replace synthetic turf at Pershing Middle School; and

— $500,000 for design work on a senior center in Bay Terraces.

A dozen or so Bay Terraces residents spoke at recent budget hearings about the senior center project, which they said was promised more than a decade ago but was never delivered.

“Years ago, a thin foundation of gravel was laid in southeastern San Diego in preparation for a senior center that was never constructed,” Faulconer said. “With this budget update, we are laying a stronger foundation upon which our city’s financial security, public safety and neighborhood projects like the Tooma Senior Center can finally be built.”

The seniors who spoke at the meetings said they’ve had to hold community activities outdoors, in all kinds of conditions.

“I’d like to thank all of the residents and supporters who have joined me in the fight for the Tooma Park Senior Center,” said Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, who represents the area. “We will continue to advocate until we see this project through.”

The revisions will be discussed by the City Council at a special meeting Thursday afternoon. A vote to approve the spending plan is scheduled for next month, and the budget will take effect July 1.

—City News Service