$2.5 Million In ‘Add-Backs’ Secured By District Supervisors

Services and projects ranging from community ambassadors to neighborhood greening were funded in the city’s latest two-year budget.

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Mayor London Breed signed this week the city’s $14 billion two-year budget, which focuses on economic recovery, public safety, homelessness and the behavioral health needs of workers and families.

District Seven Supervisor Myrna Melgar and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai secured $2.5 million in “add-back” funds, some of which will benefit the greater Ingleside neighborhood.

Add-backs are items inserted into the budget by the 11 supervisors by cutting and moving funds that the mayor placed in the budget's first draft.

These budget amendments are controversial. Last year, the Office of the City Attorney and the Office of the Controller issued a letter stating that supervisors cannot tell a department whom to contract with or influence the awarding of add-back funds. “Violations of these non-interference rules may constitute official misconduct,” the letter states.

This year's balanced budget was completed with little handwringing and on time, legislators said.

District Seven

Melgar secured $1,000,000 for the district this budget cycle, the spending plan shows. The Ingleside Light got details from Legislative Aide Lila Carrillo.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission was allocated $75,000 for accessibility ramp and infrastructure improvements.

The Recreation and Parks Department was allocated $50,000 for a fiscal feasibility analysis for the historic Mother’s Building.

The Human Services Agency was allocated a total of $60,000.

  • $20,000 to expand programs for seniors at Parkmerced.
  • $40,000 for community-based organizations to continue providing free wheelchair repair clinics.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development was allocated a total of $285,000.

  • $100,000 will go toward activities that promote economic recovery on the district’s commercial corridors. “We are still not clear and out of the pandemic and we still have a lot of small businesses that are still in recovery and struggling through that recovery,” Carrillo said. “We want to make sure that we promote as much as possible support for those businesses to be able to get back on track and back on their feet and really respond to the needs that we have heard from the communities themselves."
  • $50,000 will go toward the small business resiliency and disaster recovery to provide technical assistance and grants to businesses impacted by fire and any other disasters in West Portal ECN
  • $35,000 will go toward public safety activities on West Portal Avenue, Irving Street and Ocean Avenue. “We want to have more support for community ambassadors to be in our commercial corridors, to lend a hand to small businesses and just in general, to our patrons.” Carrillo said. “It's essentially an extra set of eyes and ears on those commercial corridors.”
  • $100,000 was allocated for Armenian cultural and food festivals.

Comment from OEWD about the timeline to execute these services was not returned by press time.

The Department of Public Works was allocated $530,000.

  • $5,000 will be spent on tamper-proof waste bins at Mt. Davidson
  • $20,000 will be used to create a waste pickup site for people living in recreational vehicles around Lake Merced.
  • $505,000 will go toward small business cleanup on District 7 commercial corridors.” “It's a multi-prong approach to the same end, which is to support our small businesses to support the economic recovery of the spaces and promote public safety and more patrons into these commercial corridors so that we can really reinvigorate the spaces,” Carrillo said.

“The supervisor’s office intentionally built in flexibility in the add-back funding to allow them to target evolving constituent concerns," DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon said. "Funding could be spent on such services as manual commercial corridor sweeping or graffiti abatement on private property, or other needs may be identified. We are still cementing the specifics with the District 7 office.”

District 11

Safai, one of the senior members of the board and vice chair of its budget committee, secured $1,500,000 for the district this budget cycle. District 11 Legislative Aide Lauren Chung explained the budget allocations.

Five-hundred thousand dollars will go toward the creation of the Lakeview Summit Steps project. “The $500,000 will be for design and then we will also go after more funding in the following year for construction,” Chung said.

The Department of Emergency Management will be allocated $50,000 to develop a culturally competent resiliency plan for the entire district.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development was allocated $50,000 total.

  • $25,000 for LGBTQ+ information and referral services, arts and culture and community building that prioritizes people of color and TGNB people.
  • $25,000 for a culturally competent caseworker for Filipino families.

The Department of Children, Youth and Families will be allocated a total of $400,000.

  • $50,000 will go toward youth arts programming and small business pop-up activities.
  • $45,000 will go toward projectors at Sheridan Elementary School.
  • $75,000 for case management, after school and summer programming and a student athlete academy that offers athletics scholarships in the OMI.
  • $80,000 will be spent on expanding the early start program at James Denman Middle School.
  • $150,000 will go toward a community hub to increase access to services for non-English speaking Asian-Pacific Islander youth and families while providing cross-cultural learning.

The San Francisco Police Department was given $114,000 for a District 11 Safety Liaison. “There are a lot of issues of public safety in our city and we thought it was necessary to have a dedicated staff person at the SFPD who would work with the District 11 office and the community,” Chung said. “We will be working on getting someone hired for that as soon as possible and then introducing them to the community.”

The Human Services Agency was allocated $50,000 to hire an administrative assistant for the reopening of activities for the Excelsior community.

The City Administrator was allocated $108,000 for organizing and supporting events in the district. “We have seen a lot of events come back: watch parties, neighborhood festivals,” Chung said. “There are a lot of costs because of the state of our economy and also because of permitting so we wanted to help cover some of those costs [and] make sure that we groups [and] nonprofits have the resources they need to put on these events.”

The Department of Public Health was allocated $128,000.

  • $28,000 to provide mental health services to the district’s Latinx population.
  • $100,000 for a coordinator to establish a mental health services program between the district’s schools and community-based organizations. “This will coordinate all the existing services between different groups, different nonprofits and then put them together so that there's kind of a central location that District 11 residents go to,” Chung said.

DPW will be allocated $100,000 for neighborhood greening, cleaning and beautification. “We do this every year in our district and it’s to maintain a lot of green space and also plant more trees and more greenery,” Chung said.

Two items included in the District 11 add-backs list did not include numbers: a stress unit for the San Francisco Fire Department and an oversight commission for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Update: This article was updated to include comment from the Department of Public Works.

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