In light of the most recent revenue and expenditure figures included in the May Revise and the expected savings included in a multi-year labor agreement for Fiscal Year 2014, below are a list of funding priorities that should be considered for inclusion in the FY2014 budget:
Park & Recreation Services- $246,600-$527,357:
o Teen Nights: The portable pool program was allocated an additional $44,000 in the May Revise. At the time of the May Revise there was a funding gap for the portable pool program, that has now been addressed via community donations. As such this funding should be used to fully fund the Teen Nights program for FY2014 in order to provide our young people with safe activities in their communities.
o Expand portable pool program to more communities and open all city pools year round
o Fertilization of Park Areas: Non-personnel only restoration of $450,000 for twice per year fertilization of park areas is vital to the preservation of our active and passive park areas
o Facilities Maintenance: Additional four hours of cleaning restrooms on Saturdays at five parks within District Eight for FY 14 is critical, as these parks are used on Saturdays and Sundays each weekend. By Sunday the bathrooms need to be cleaned and the trash needs to be emptied to accommodate the needs of park users on Sunday. Citywide dedicated hourly grounds maintenance staff would cost a minimum of approximately $41,000 in FY14, plus undetermined additional costs for needed vehicles and/or additional staff that would likely bring total citywide funding to $100,000. Shoreline Parks Ranger- $138,357: This area is a destination for tourists visiting San Diego and justifies additional Ranger staffing to support other public safety officers patrolling the area.
Elimination of Cross Staffing for Fire-Rescue Units- $1.9 million- $5.7 million: These units serve an important function that is critical to public safety city-wide and should be adequately staffed without pulling firefighters away from regular duty. Eliminating the cross staffing would provide dedicated staffing for each unit to increase efficiency. In order of priority, cross staffing should be eliminated in the following units:
o HAZMAT Unit ($1.9 million)
o Bomb Unit ($1.9 million)
o Urban Search & Rescue Unit ($1.9 million)
Continued Implementation of Citygate Working Group Five-Year plan- $1.87 million: In order to provide proper fire and life safety services to San Diegans, the City must continue to stay on target with funding needs identified in the Citygate Report. The City made some progress last year in providing the required funding for the purchase and installation of a new instation alert system, however we have a long ways to go in meeting the goals of the implementation plan. The update to the five-year plan at the January 16, 2013 PS&NS meeting outlined the funding needs for Year 2 of the implementation plan, which should be incorporated into the FY14 budget. I believe it is critical that the following Citygate Working Group recommendations be implemented in the upcoming fiscal year:
o Funding for planning and design of Home Ave. Fire Station- $750,000
o Battalion Chief staffing and vehicle- $1.12 million
• $530,000 for purchase of vehicle
• $592,000 for recommended staffing level
Lifeguard Staffing- $442,897: Transfer funding for the 12 seasonal lifeguards to budget for four additional full time "Lifeguard II" positions to staff a boating unit, which in addition to regular duties can perform enforcement within the Marine Protection Areas (MP As). MP As must be adequately protected in order to preserve them for future generations and protect affected marine life.
Arts & Education Pilot Program (Jan 2014-June 2014)- $613,125: As discussed by the City Council in approving the Penny for the Arts Plan last year, a focus on funding Arts and Culture programs in our communities is an important piece of ensuring that our City retain and grow a vibrant arts environment. A vital piece is ensuring that our local students have direct access to arts programming through a partnership between the City and the various school districts. This can be accomplished via a student arts enrichment program that would reserve facilities for exclusive use of San Diego students during the school day. Non-profit arts groups would develop programming that fits school curriculum and the city pays for facility, programs and transportation. If the program is successful it could be funded for a full year in FY2015.
Installation of City-owned Street Lights- $200,000: The FY14 budget currently includes$100,000 for street lights. I believe increased funding to provide more street lighting in our communities is vital to public safety. As such, I propose that $200,000 be allocated for streetlight installation in FY14. Specifically, the following location badly needs lighting:
o Alleyway between Imperial A venue and Commercial Street (between 28th Street and 32nd Street)
Sidewalks: Making progress on city-wide sidewalk repair is critical as the city continues to address infrastructure needs. The FY14 budget should include funding for sidewalk repair. Below are specific locations that should be addressed:
o Conifer Ave. from I-5 to Hollister Street
o Citrus Ave. from I-5 to Hollister Street
o Dahlia Ave. from 16th Street to 19th Street
o Dahlia Ave. from 18th to Saturn Blvd.
o Thermal Ave. from Palm Ave to Donax Ave.
o 16th Street from Elm Ave. to Elder Ave.
o Evergreen Ave. from Thermal Ave to 16th Street
o Thermal from Palm Ave to Coronado Ave
o Logan Avenue between Cesar Chavez Pkwy and entrance to Hwy 5 South (Southeast side of Chicano Park).
o Installation of sidewalk on Siccard Ave between Newton Ave and Main Street
o Pedestrian ramp installation on southeast corner of Sampson A venue and Newton Avenue
o 2040 Imperial A venue - sidewalk broken by two trees
o Curb damage on Imperial Avenue from 24th through 25th Street
o Curb damage on Imperial A venue from 25th through 26th Street
o Curb damage on Imperial A venue from 26th through 25th Street
Urban Forestry Program- $250,000: Growing San Diego's urban forest improves residents quality of life through various public safety benefits and cooling of urban heat islands in our communities. The FY14 budget should include $150,000 in funding for an Urban Forester and $100,000 for an Urban Forestry Program.
Code Compliance Program: There are many properties in various communities across the city that require inspection and enforcement by the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department. Specifically, some properties fall into the category of neglected multi-unit residential building owned and operated by out-of-town owners. These slum properties have a negative impact on the residents who live in the buildings and on the community at large. A pro-active code enforcement program focusing on cleaning up these properties should be included in the FY14 budget.
Silverwing Neighborhood Park Sports Field Lighting -$600,000: This project provides for much needed sports field lighting for this park. This upgrade would extend the useful life of this facility and provide greater usage by the community. The project currently has a $600,000 funding gap.
Villa Montezuma Museum Restoration- $500,000: This project restores an important historical asset for the city, extends the life of the facility and would open the facility to the public. Restoration and repair work includes exterior painting, fencing, landscaping, replacement of heating, cooling and ventilation systems, plumbing/piping, electrical upgrades, ADA upgrades and restoration of historic stained glass windows. This project has a funding gap of approximately $500,000.
Memorial Park Improvements- $200,000: Memorial Park is located at Logan Avenue and 28th Street. This block also includes facilities operated by the San Diego Unified School District. Staff should work cooperatively with SDUSD staff to coordinate efforts to redesign the current site to better serve the community and students. An initial estimate of costs associated with a redesign of the park site is $400,000 which can be split between the City and SDUSD. An initial investment by the City in FY14 would begin the process for this project.
Chicano Park ADA upgrades- $2.2 million: This project provides for ADA upgrades at Chicano Park and allows for a 2 acre expansion of the park that includes comfort station upgrades, children's play areas, drinking fountains, park furniture, a skateboard park, lighting, and sports field lighting. Funding of the project will allow the city to meet State and Federal guidelines on accessibility standards, provides the community with significant upgrades to a historic area of the district and extends the useful life of the park. The funding gap for this project is approximately $2.2 million.
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 a s 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 deficiencies, which has prevented the project from moving forward and has hampered the city's ability to better facilitate international commerce. I suggest that a CIP is created during FY14 for this project and funding is sought for it in future years.
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. I suggest that a CIP is created during FY14 for this project and funding is sought for it in future years.