SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee signed legislation on Friday, February 26 for a $350 million Public Health and Safety Bond for the June 7, 2016 ballot. The initiative is aimed to expand accessibility to the mental health services for San Francisco residents, including the homeless, and to seismically enhance and strengthen the city’s public health care facilities and emergency medical response infrastructure that ensures viability after a major earthquake.
“The $350 million Public Health and Safety Bond – without raising property tax rates – continues the critical work to repair, strengthen and invest in San Francisco’s 21st Century infrastructure needs for health care and emergency medical services as outlined in our City’s Ten-Year Capital Plan,” said Mayor Lee. “Protecting public health, expanding mental health and homeless services for our most in need, and improving safety for our residents in the event of emergencies remains our City’s highest priorities, and this bond that voters will consider this June will improve and expand access to services, bolster resiliency and respond quickly during and after a major earthquake.”
“The Public Health & Safety Bond will expand the mental health and homeless resources our city desperately needs,” said President Breed. “It will make us safer in the next major earthquake and help us continue improving ambulance response times, so people in an emergency can know help will be there. By acting now we will make San Francisco safer and healthier, while saving local taxpayer dollars.”
“The $350 million Public Health and Safety Bond is crucial to improving San Francisco’s medical and mental health services, emergency safety and response services, and our homeless services system – all without raising taxes a dime,” said Supervisor Farrell. “I look forward to fighting for this funding, so that we can make San Francisco safer, stronger, and healthier.”
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, it has been noted that a 72 percent chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake could hit the Bay Area region in the next 30 years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The city of San Francisco can prepare for such a disaster by upgrading health and safety facilities to ensure the protection of its residents, neighborhoods and small businesses in an emergency.
The $350 million Public Health and Safety Bond will fund essential projects and improvements to San Francisco’s infrastructure in three areas: health, safety and rescue.
- $222 million will be allocated to Zuckerberg San Francisco General to make essential earthquake safety improvements on the campus. The funding will modernize fire response systems and improve services by renovating a 1970s-era campus facility that houses the City’s only emergency psychiatric services, as well as outpatient and urgent care services. The voter approved state-of-the-art Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital opens spring 2016. This bond continues that work by addressing other outstanding needs on campus to make our health services resilient.
- $30 million will be used to renovate the Southeast Health Center and construct a new addition to the clinic, a high-demand neighborhood-based community health center in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, to update, improve and expand access to serve more patients while providing integrated mental health and primary care.
- $20 million will be directed toward modernization and transformation of the City’s homeless shelters and homeless service sites, providing improved, expanded services to an at-risk population.
- $20 million will be used for additional renovations to neighborhood public health clinics that provide primary care and behavioral health across the City.
- $44 million will be used to construct a modern, seismically safe San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) ambulance deployment and emergency medical services facility to dispatch ambulance and paramedic staff for improved response and to ensure the operation remains functional during and after a major earthquake.
- $14 million will be used for repairs and modernization of SFFD’s neighborhood fire stations.
The bond proposal is part of the Ten-Year Capital Plan, the city’s formal commitment to long-term, strategic and fiscally responsible capital planning. The plan is adopted annually by the mayor and Board of Supervisors to decide capital needs across all city departments. The Public Health and Safety Bond is a vital component of the program to ensure the city’s public health, mental health and emergency medical service facilities are seismically safe, and meet modern standards.
Property tax rates will not increase as a result of this bond program. New general obligation bonds will only be issued once the city pays off previous bonds that funded the construction and improvements to other public assets, such as neighborhood parks and libraries, Laguna Honda Hospital, the Public Safety Building, the Academy of Sciences and the Asian Art Museum.
For more information on the Public Health and Safety Bond, go to: http://sfdpw.org/publichealthbond.