This year, it was a love fest.
The city's 425-page budget says the city is flush with money thanks in part to more than 22,000 jobs created just last year and union concessions which saved the city $28 million.
It was like a "kumbaya" moment at City Hall. There were smiles all around and lots of applause because San Francisco's economy is recovering and the city's reserves are growing. "During the last nine months, the controller has reported out our revenues were $172 million more than projected," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said.
Lee's budget plan calls for $7 billion in spending during the first fiscal year. It would close a projected two-year deficit of $638 million. All of this means no cuts to health and social services after years of deep incisions. There's even enough money to go to programs which lost state and federal funding. "I've included full restoration of federal cuts to programs and services that serve people with HIV and AIDS," Lee said. And to offset state cuts, San Francisco schools will receive $6 million.
A priority in the budget is one of the biggest hiring commitments to public safety. There will be six police academy classes totaling 300 recruits in the next two years and new fire academy classes as well.
There appears to be little opposition among supervisors to the budget proposal. The main obstacle in past years has been the deep cuts proposed for social service agencies. Supervisor John Avalos says its different this year. "I've worked, organized with people all across the city to make sure that we could have a vibrant safety net for working people in this city and that's' been incorporated in this budget," he told ABC7 News.
Now, the budget analyst will review the mayor's plan. By the way, this is the first time a mayor has proposed a two-year budget. It has always been year-to-year. The supervisors will have a go at it during the final two weeks of June, but don't expect a lot of opposition.