The Mayor's May revision of his proposed FY 2013 budget addressed many suggestions made by the City Council over the last few weeks. I was particularly appreciative of the restoration of funding for the City's Graffiti Removal Team and the inclusion of additional Fire-Rescue and Police academies. However, I believe that there are a number of essential city services that the public deserves to receive, which I have listed below with corresponding funding sources:
• Restoration of Lifeguard Relief Positions and Injury Prevention Program: Our beach and coastal areas are visited by tens of thousands of people every year, which requires the need for the city to provide adequate lifeguard services to ensure a safe environment for those visitors. Restoring the level of lifeguard training needed to keep our lifeguards up-to-date in current safety and rescue procedures is critical to providing a high level of safety at our beaches, bays, lakes and pools. Restoration of three lifeguard relief positions will allow lifeguard personnel to attend training while others perform regular lifeguard duties. Maintaining a high standard of lifeguard training is a critical function that the city must provide. The following positions and resources should be restored:
o 3 Relief Positions: $300,000
o Injury Prevention Program: $65,000
• Restoration of Civilian Positions in the Police Department: Cutting civilian positions within the Police Department has a direct impact on sworn police officers' ability to be actively patrol our neighborhoods. Police support staff are vital and need to be retained so that our sworn officers are free to have a greater presence in our communities. As referenced in IBA Report 12-19, restoring at least 3-5 civilian positions based on priorities identified by the Police Chief in FYl 3 is critical as we move towards putting more officers on our streets. 3-5 Civilian positions (half year funding): $127,500-$212,500
• Teen Nights Program and Youth Development Office: State grants funding the current Teen Night programs ends after this summer. The 5 existing Teen Nights will not have the funding to hold the program next summer. The Teen Night programs run from May-September, but that the funds for next summer would need to be appropriated in the FY 13 budget because two of the months fall in FY13. The Teen Nights program is a vital service to our young people that should not be discontinued. Additionally, a Youth Development Office should be formed utilizing not only city funds but also available state grant funding.
o Teen Nights Program: $50,000
• Neil Good Day Center Funding: The Neil Good Day Center provides a safe environment for homeless individuals during the day. Although the May Revise restored $300,000 in funding for the Neil Good Day Center, I believe it is critical that the City fully fund the operations of the Center. Fully funding the Neil Good Day Center requires an additional $250,000 in funds.
o Fully fund Neil Good Day Center: $250,000
• Urban Forester/Certified Arborist Position: Growing and maintaining the urban forest in our city is vital. More trees planted throughout our communities result in everything from increased savings on energy costs to slowing down traffic on our neighborhood streets. Restoring this position will allow us to grow our urban forest as well as take advantage of state and federal funds to plant trees throughout our communities.
o Urban Forester/Certified Arborist Position (half year funding): $31,130
• Tree Trimming: There is a major shortage in maintaining all City owned palm and shade trees. I have had numerous residents contact my office with their concerns about the lack of maintenance on these trees. Even when residents volunteer to trim the trees, they do not have the proper equipment to deal with the palm trees that drop waste from high above. As a safety concern, a plan to restore at least some of these services should be a priority.
o Restoration tree trimming: $2.4 million
• Citywide Community and Economic Development Office: Should property tax funding become available, a Community and Economic Development Office should be established to allow for long range planning for all former redevelopment areas (SEDC, CCDC and all other project areas), establish programmatic EIRs and seek additional funding and grant opportunities.
o Citywide Community and Economic Development Office: $400,000
• City Auditor Staff Position and Resources: It is important that we continue to increase the staff resources of the City Auditors Office. The City Auditor's ability to conduct comprehensive audits on various city departments and functions is vital in promoting accountability, efficiency and transparency in our city government. As such the FY13 budget should add at least one administrative assistant position. The cost of hiring an administrative assistant is significantly less than that of hiring an additional performance auditor, but would have much the same impact by allowing current staff to focus solely on audit work. To further assist in allowing the City Auditor to efficiently produce various audits, the FY13 budget should allow for the procurement of a specialized audit management software system. The software is common in the industry and will reduce the amount of staff time required on each audit. Finally, it is critical the City follow through with the Kroll Report recommendation to produce an internal controls audit and the FYI 3 budget should allow for this work to move forward.
o 1 Administrative Assistant Position: $82,462
o Specialized Audit Management Software: $51,850
o Internal Controls Audit: $100,000
Proposed Funding Sources: Each of the above items can be funded via any combination of the following options:
• Elimination of flex management benefits: $1.4 million
• Elimination of 10 management analyst positions: $750,000
• One Week Unclassified/Unrepresented employee furlough: $1.12 million
• Consolidation of Public Information Officer Positions: $180,000
• Reserves: Use of existing reserves over 8% funding level for one time funding items, such as Neil Good Day Center operations is appropriate. Reserves currently stand at $118.9 million after accounting for the increase in deferred capital O&M spending. This is $26.9 million above the 8% policy.
• General Plan Maintenance Fee Increase: Currently this fee is only 56% cost recoverable. It should be 100% cost recoverable. Increasing this fee to be 100% cost recoverable would result in additional $800,000 and would allow funds currently subsidizing the service to be used for other critical city services.
• Increased property taxes due to elimination of redevelopment agencies: Unknown, but should provide funding for ongoing expenses.
• 'Lifeguards' Weather Channel Reality Show Renewal: Potential revenue unknown, but could provide funding for one-time expense.
• 109 New Positions Added to FY13 Budget: Some positions do not increase service levels to the public, these positions should be reviewed and funding for those not increasing service levels to the public should be considered as potential funding for other purposes. Other positions are duplicative or do not justify expenditure. The following positions are a few examples:
o 1 Program Manager position (Administration): $170,629
o 1 Information Technology Security Position (Dept. ofIT): $169,112
o 2.24 Public Information Clerk positions (ESD): $69,395
o 2 Program Manager positions (Human Resources): $170,254
o 1 Community Development Coordinator position and 1 Program Manager position (Office of the Mayor): $307,973*
* Note these positions could fund most of the Community and Economic Development Office discussed eqrlier
In addition to the above funding recommendations, the following CIP projects are high priority and should see significant progress through FY13 or should be prepared to be included in the FY14 CIP budget:
• New San Ysidro Library CIP: The current branch library in San Ysidro is one of the oldest (built in 1931), smallest (3,000 square feet) and outdated library facilities in the entire city. The construction of the new library has been long delayed. A site has been secured and the design and construction of the library needs to be funded. It is critical that this is a priority Capital Improvement Project in FY13.
• Silver Wing Neighborhood Park Sports Field and Security Lighting CIP: Security lights are highly recommended for operational purposes as there have been on-going requests and complaints from the surrounding residents about the need for additional security lighting in the park. The design for this project is nearly complete and construction can be phased throughout the fiscal year. Security lighting at this location is important and it is imperative that this phase of the project stay on schedule.
• Old Otay Mesa Road-Westerly CIP: This project provides for design and construction of Old Otay Mesa Road from the Princess Park Subdivision (Cresent Bay Drive) to the Remington Hills Subdivision (Hawken Drive). This project includes approximately 2,400 linear feet of a two-lane collector street, sidewalks, curb, gutter, street lighting, new roadway sections, guardrail and traffic calming facilities. Most importantly, this project will address a dangerous situation for pedestrians using the road to walk to San Ysidro High School, as there is not an adequate sidewalk area for students to utilize going to and coming from the school. According to the FY13 CIP Budget document, this project is slated for construction in FY14 and it is crucial to student and pedestrian safety that the project be prepared to move forward by FY14 or sooner.
• Palm Ave Roadway Improvements CIP: This project provides for traffic safety improvements on Palm A venue from Beyer Way to Interstate 805. The improvements include installation of raised center medians, turn pockets, traffic signals, a pedestrian refuge area, crosswalks, landscaping, striping and signage. These improvements will benefit the community by increasing the safety and flow of traffic. It is imperative that this project progress and move to construction by the next fiscal year.
• Initiate Capital Improvement Project for La Media Road Improvements: La Media Road, between I-905 and Siempre Viva Road in the Otay Mesa community, is a route used by commercial vehicles accessing the border. Significant improvements (such as widening) are required on La Media Road as the city moves forward with plans to improve the road, provide better access to commercial vehicles crossing the border and addressing significant flooding issues, which often make the road impassable. Currently, no CIP exists to address these specific deficiencies, which has prevented the project from moving forward and has hampered the city's ability to better facilitate international commerce.
• Initiate Capital Improvement Project to Design Southwest Neighborhood Park in Otay Mesa/Nestor: The City owns undeveloped park land on 2ih Street in the Otay Mesa/Nestor community. The design and development of the 11.4 acres into a Neighborhood Park was first proposed in 1992 and would provide much needed park space and be of great benefit to all members of the community. Children from Southwest Middle School as well as condominiums, apartments, and mobile homes within walking distance would benefit from the use. Currently no CIP exists for this project and in order to move forward funds need to be dedicated to the design of the park.