At this week’s meeting, the full Board of Supervisors looks to approve the city’s budget, which was negotiated with surprisingly little drama in June.
Also up for approval is a long-awaited program to give veterans a leg up in affordable housing applications. Meanwhile, an ongoing debate over how best to respond to street incidents continues with the possibility of a performance audit.
As usual, the wonks can peruse the whole shebang here.
After continuing it for a week, the board is set to approve the city budget for fiscal years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024. Supervisors and Mayor London Breed’s office hashed out the agreement at a late-night meeting last month. Both sides emerged pleased: It was described by budget chair and District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen as less contentious than past years, but it did feature some fireworks and a whole lot of budget requests.
- Supervisors cut Mayor London Breed’s original proposal by about $88 million, including cuts to police overtime and some street ambassador programs. Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office described her budget priorities as “largely intact.”
- The supes then brought back in funding for some of their preferred programs, including $58 million in general fund monies. They also got the mayor to agree to issue $140 million in debt financing to fund new affordable housing and improve existing properties.
- The supervisors’ asks were backed by “add-back” requests from constituent groups, which initially totaled around $1.5 billion. Representatives of these groups literally camped out in corridors at City Hall during negotiations, and some even participated in discussions.
- Covid and other issues made the process a rollercoaster. Pandemic-related inflation drove up labor costs, evaporating an expected surplus made possible by emergency federal and state aid.
The Supervisors are also set to finalize some of the eleven charter amendment ballot measures planned for the November election:
- Among those set for final submission for the ballot are measures calling for a Homelessness Oversight Commission, abolition of the newly created Sanitation and Streets Department, and holding elections only in even numbered years;
- Others, such as for establishing a “student success fund” to aid public schools in improving pupil achievement and wellness, and requiring rent control for certain new housing projects, will be continued for a vote next week.
- District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan’s Affordable Housing Production Act, which will compete on the ballot with a broader proposal supported by Mayor Breed and housing advocates, will be the subject of its own special order hearing at 3:00 PM. Last week Chan announced amendments to the measure, and depending on the outcome of the hearing, the measure should be submitted for the ballot tomorrow.
- Apart from what the supervisors are placing on the ballot, there are even more measures coming. Those include citizen initiatives to restore car access to JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, a tax on vacant dwellings, and a parcel tax for City College.
Housing for Veterans
A proposal from District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar to extend Certificate of Preference eligibility to veterans is finally set for approval Tuesday. The legislation would entitle veterans of the armed forces to higher priority in the application process for Below Market Rate (BMR) housing.
- Mar had originally mentioned veterans’ preference as a policy goal during a roll call last year. He then proffered legislation calling for a disparate impact study to see if the policy would end up delaying other applications, and then introduced the actual legislation this May.
- In that time, the city has also moved ahead with affordable housing for formerly homeless veterans. A 109-unit project on Treasure Island named for veterans’ advocate Maceo May is set for completion this year.
- Once implemented, veterans would join a number of other cohorts eligible for a bump in the housing lottery process. Those include tenants evicted due to use of the Ellis Act, and former city residents who were displaced during the “urban renewal” era of the 1960’s.
Street Response Teams
Finally, also up for approval is a motion directing the Budget and Legislative Analyst to perform a performance audit of the plethora of teams the city uses to intervene in drug overdoses, behavioral crises or other street incidents.
- Current intervention teams include the Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT), Street Crisis Response Team (SCRT), Street Overdose Response Team (SORT), and Street Wellness Response Team (SWRT). The audit will examine planning, organization and management of these teams, including coordination with other departments.
- Last year the board passed a non-binding resolution favoring a model supported by many of the city’s nonprofits, the Compassionate Alternative Response Team (CART). So far, Breed’s office has not considered implementing it.
- Generally, the supervisors do two audits per year: the other one this year is looking at the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s administration of supportive housing funds.
Mike Ege can be reached at [email protected]