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SF mayor promises $12.8 million for street cleaning

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But not until the city passes a budget later this year

Garbage on the streets in the Mission. Photo by Daniel Parks

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell followed up on a pledge earlier this week to more than triple the number of city staffers hired to retrieve used needles from the streets. He followed that promise with another one: to increase the city’s budget for street cleaning by $12.8 million.

This comes after Farrell swore he would veto an attempt by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to redirect $1.1 million worth of city funds toward cleanup campaigns, but promised “street cleaning will be a top priority” in the future.

Among other things, Farrell’s office announced Wednesday that the upcoming two-year budget will include:

  • Five more staffed city pit-stop toilet sites and longer hours at the five locales that already exist.
  • Forty-four new staffers for cleaning duties, four per each SF district.
  • One additional street cleaning schedule just for the SoMa neighborhood, operating five days a week.
  • $3.4 million worth of new equipment for Public Works cleanups.

After the announcement, Farrell told NBC Bay Area he had stepped on a discarded needle near City Hall last year and declared himself “sick and tired” of the problems.

Via press release, Supervisor Catherine Stefani (who took over representing the city’s second district when Farrell became mayor earlier this year) said, “As a longtime resident of San Francisco, I’ve never seen the streets this dirty. [...] Things need to change.”

The catch is that for the $12.8 million to manifest and start doing its work, the city must first include and pass it in the upcoming two-year budget.

The Board of Supervisors will begin considering a new budget in June, and under the usual schedule the mayor will sign off on it in August.

However, Farrell is not running in June’s mayoral election, so the eventual winner of that contest will be the one to fulfill his promises if included in the final budget.