San Jose Unanimously Adopts $3.2 Billion Budget Focused on Disaster Preparedness

San Jose this week adopted a $3.2 billion budget that allocates money for disaster response and re-housing people displaced by the Coyote Creek flood that tore through the city in February.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the 2017-18 spending plan, which assumes multi-million dollar shortfalls over the next several years.

“With this budget, we have charted a prudent and strategic approach that focuses our attention on impactful investments that will help improve public safety and quality of life for our residents,” Mayor Sam Liccardo wrote in a statement. “I’d like to thank all of my colleagues on the City Council for supporting my budget proposal and for their thoughtful input throughout the budget process. Together, we continue to make progress in our efforts to restore and improve core services throughout the community.”

San Jose’s focus on emergency planning is a lesson learned from the flooding four months ago, when the city was criticized for its failure to alert and evacuate people in a timely manner. The city’s lagging response resulted in several lawsuits that will likely turn into costly settlements.

In the budget, Liccardo pegged $265,000 for emergency communications, including a portable mass warning system. He set aside another $300,000 in incentives for landlords who house 350 people who lose their homes in the February floods. The mayor also asked for $100,000 to clear brush and debris from Coyote Creek and $50,000 for groups that help the city keep the waterways clear.

The budget also recognizes the financial challenges in the years ahead and lays out new investment priorities. City officials anticipate a $10 million shortfall this coming fiscal year, which starts July 1, followed by $11.5 million in 2019-20, $17.4 million in 2020-21 and $12.8 million in 2012-22.

In light of those deficits, many funding requests from the council—which amounted to about $38 million in all—wound up getting rejected.

Listed below are some of the proposals that won approval in the new spending blueprint.

  • Road repair and maintenance. The city will spend $1 million to pave about 250 miles of road next year and commit to a five-year plan to continue upgrading city streets.
  • Graffiti and trash cleanup. San Jose plans to speed up response times to 48 hours for reports of illegal dumping. It also plans to clean up and landscape 30 major transportation corridors and extend “neighborhood beautification” grants to volunteers and $135,000 to the San Jose Streets Team for litter pickup.
  • Office of Immigrant Affairs. The division gets $75,000 in one-time funding to help train and educate foreign-born residents.
  • Animal Care Services. The city-run pound will receive $144,000 for a new washer, dryer and water system.
  • Meals on Wheels. The service that provides meals to home-bound low-income seniors will get a $150,000 boost.

To learn more about the council-approved budget, see City Manager Norberto Dueñas’ proposed budget and the mayor’s final budget recommendations.

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