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Breed’s budget proposal tackles safety, housing, pandemic recovery

Flanked by members of law enforcement and community ambassadors at Union Square, San Francisco Mayor London Breed introduced her proposed two-year budget proposal Wednesday, which highlights an increase in public safety spending.

Breed’s proposal calls for $13.95 billion in the first fiscal year and another $13.85 billion the following year. The budget would fund four police academy classes in each fiscal year to fill 200 vacant officer positions, and puts some money aside for five and 15-year officer bonuses.

The mayor said safety concerns are raised by not just residents, but by people around the world:

“When I traveled to promote San Francisco, people talked about the city and how much they love it and how much they want to come here, but they also talked about their concerns about safety.”

Jermaine Ellis via YouTuue Smash and grab robbery in San Francisco, Calif. (Jermaine Ellis via YouTube)

The City has received a lot of national attention over the past year or so due to viral videos capturing looters at high-end retail stores around Union Square, and at pharmacy stores like Walgreens. While the widely distributed footage puts The City “on a map virally,” Breed explained in her address that videos do not tell the whole story.

She said:

“What they didn’t show was our response to what happened here in Union Square. Not only more of a police presence, but also more of our incredible community ambassadors.”

Breed’s budget continues The City’s focus on pandemic recovery with nearly $49 million allocated to support small businesses, including $10 million for grants and loans. Another $10.5 million would go toward establishing the City Recovery Fund, which would be used to attract more foot traffic in the downtown area by activating public spaces and organizing events.

If approved, the budget would provide $7.2 million to expand Department of Public Works cleaning operations in the Tenderloin.

On homelessness, the budget would fund a 70-unit Mission District cabin site similar to the 33 Gough St. site SFBay reported on in March. The budget also includes continued funding for shelter-in-place hotels and two safe sleeping sites.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay Inside a tiny home at the DignityMoves ribbon cutting ceremony in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Jerold Chinn/SFBay)

Breed’s proposal would fund increased efforts for workforce training, mental health and substance abuse treatment, crisis response and targets housing services for transgender and transitional-age youth. 

City budget offices in March projected a $74.7 million surplus for the upcoming two fiscal years — a significant drop from January’s projection of $108 million. The decreased surplus is attributed to a retirement surge and workers’ compensation costs. Breed’s proposal taps into $154.3 million in reserves in order to balance the budget.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will debate the mayor’s proposal over the course of the next two months. A finalized budget must be approved by Aug. 1 and returned to the mayor for signature.

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