Hearings begin for San Diego city budget
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Wednesday morning marks the start of four days of public hearings on Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed $3.3 Billion budget which addresses the city’s most controversial issue: police staffing.
Hearings will begin after remarks by mayoral staff and an overview of the plan by the city’s independent budget analyst. The council members are then scheduled to take up the budgets of the police and fire departments.
An IBA analysis released last week praised the spending plan overall but pointed out a lack of new initiatives that address the drain of experienced police officers from the SDPD, which has continued despite compensation increases.
The inability for the police department to recruit and retain officers is a “multifaceted, complicated, and serious matter,” the IBA report stated.
Mayor Faulconer and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman have recently been criticized for incidents where callers have been placed on hold for long periods of time when calling 911 due to a shortfall of civilian employees who receive the calls and dispatchers.
A couple whose three-day-old son was mauled by their family dog about two weeks ago was discovered to hav made two unsuccessful calls to 911 before giving up and rushing the baby to the hospital. Last fall, two callers, who had intruders in their homes in separate incidents, each spent several minutes on hold.
Faulconer released a series of initiatives intended to resolve the dispatching problem Tuesday and those that affect the budget will be included in his “May Revise” scheduled to be released May 17.
The City Council budget hearings will continue Thursday, Monday and Tuesday. An evening council session on the budget is scheduled for May 16.