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Faulconer adds $12M in projects to budget

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday proposed adding $12 million more in projects to the city's $1.2 billion in general fund expenditures in 2015, ranging from installing streetlights to removing stench-producing cormorants from La Jolla's seaside cliffs.

Faulconer introduced the projects after discovering that the city had reaped bigger-than-expected revenues, including $7.5 million in property taxes, $2.5 million in bond reimbursements and service reductions, $1.4 million in hotel taxes and $1.3 million from other sources and adjustments.

The biggest project on his list is $1.5 million for maintaining and supplying police helicopters, followed by $1 million for streetlights and $970,000 to build a park in a City Heights neighborhood where residents have been asking for a park for the past decade.

The Wightman Street Neighborhood Park will include a large lawn, two basketball half-courts, a scooter and tricycle trail, play equipment for youngsters, picnic tables, barbecues and shade trees.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald, whose district includes City Heights, said Faulconer's decision to fund the park was "very exciting news," adding that it "is a tangible product of the efforts and dedication of community leaders in City Heights."

Other projects on Faulconer's list include:

• $760,000 for Fire Rescue service, including $60,000 for fireboat repairs;

• $600,000 for better lighting and other improvements at Silver Wing Neighborhood Park and $50,000 for lighting at Tierrasanta Community Park's sports field;

• $500,000 for clearing brush from local parks and recreation sites;

• $300,000 for plans to develop transit-oriented sites in City Heights and Encanto and to reuse the old site of the downtown library;

• $250,000 for overseeing San Dieguito River Park;

• $200,000 for a manager to oversee the city's sustainability programs, including a $120,000 salary plus benefits;

• $150,000 for the Police Department's homeless outreach team to offer 25 beds for the homeless;

• $100,000 for a paved trail for the disabled in Black Mountain Park;

• $50,000 to remove birds from the cliffs at La Jolla Cove, which has been periodically overwhelmed by the stench of their guano.

The projects will be reviewed by the City Council for consideration.

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