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Supes OK Jane Kim street cleaning budget, veto looms

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Supervisor Jane Kim won a victory on Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors approved a budget supplemental of $1.1 million to the Department of Public Works in order to keep The City’s streets clean.

The win, though, could be short-lived.

The board voted 6-5 with supervisors Katy Tang, Malia Cohen, Jeff Sheehy, Catherine Stefani and Ahsha Safai opposing the supplemental, which will provide the department more staff and cleaning equipment such two additional street sweepers.

Kim originally had asked for $2.5 million, but amended the amount to $1.1 million.

Mayor Mark Farrell plans to veto the budget supplemental, but the Mayor’s Budget Director Melissa Whitehouse said last month that providing more resources for street cleaning was a high priority for Farrell.

Whitehouse recommended to see the mayor’s budget proposal first to see if the funding for street cleaning is adequate. Farrell must submit a budget to the board on June 1.

It would take eight votes from the board to override a mayoral veto.

While all of the supervisors agreed that The City’s street cleanliness is getting worse, some supervisors said this was not the time to introduce a budget supplemental while The City is currently in the budget process. The new fiscal year begins on July 1.

Tang said:

“I just don’t think it’s necessary in a form of a supplemental at this time, April, when we’re about to go into budget deliberations.”

Kim said the uncleanliness of The City’s streets has reached a crisis point and that residents are tired of stepping on human feces. She said residents want to see something being about the dirty streets now:

“They want to see that funding today as quickly as we can provide it.”

Kim, a mayoral candidate, said she plans to start a plan that involves expanding The City’s neighborhood streets team program doubling the Pit Stop program and appointing a clean streets director.

Cohen, who chairs the board’s Budget and Finance Committee, insisted that the request for more funding for Public Works go through the budget process.

She also wanted to wait because the committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to discuss city funding on street cleaning.

The committee voted 2-1 against the proposal last month but Kim was able to call out the item to the full board by getting four supervisor signatures, including her own.

Kim argued that the board has approved a number of budget supplementals before, including one to expand The City’s homeless outreach team during the budget process.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who has cleaned the plazas outside of the 16th Street Mission BART Station in her district, said having cleaner streets will make a difference for residents and businesses.

She agreed with Kim that The City needs to do something now, especially on streets that are hardest hit with needles and human feces:

“For really hard-hit neighborhoods like the Tenderloin, like the Mission, you could not get started soon enough.”

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