A river trail, sports complex and free bus rides. How Sacramento may spend its budget surplus

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg laid out a proposal Thursday to spend $16 million of the city’s $51 million surplus for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The city has a rare $51 million surplus because of the Measure U sales tax increase that voters approved in November.

Of the $16 million, about $11 million would be spent on projects the mayor considers to be “inclusive economic development” to benefit residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“This year’s budget is not just any regular City budget,” according to the mayor’s budget memo released Thursday. “It’s about setting a sustainable new course for the next five years that makes a fundamental commitment to invest back into our community. With our new Measure U resources and this bold new investment framework in place, I truly believe we will make a significant positive impact on every key issue we face, from building affordable housing to investing in underserved communities.”

If the city spends the $16 million as the mayor proposes, the city’s new Measure U Community Advisory Committee and another committee under the city manager’s office would help decide how to spend the remaining $35 million.

Here are some of the projects the mayor wants to fund, according to the memo:

$1.3 million to expand “pop up” activity nights for Sacramento teens on Friday and Saturday nights. More than 3,654 teens attended these events between February and March. The nights will also feature new activities to build work skills and workforce development.

$650,000 for youth programs, mostly in Meadowview, such as summer camps, extending pool and library hours, and continuing to fund Summer Night Lights programs in north and south Sacramento. Also includes $50,000 to extend the hours at the Colonial Heights Library.

$150,000 for a college savings program for all students in the city, combined with a $286,000 grant from the Student Aid Commission.

$1 million to allow all kids who live or go to school in the city to ride public transit for free.

$1.9 million for the Del Paso Heights Sports Complex — three baseball and soccer fields to hose local youth leagues and regional tournaments.

$750,000 to relocate the LBGT Center from their current building near the corner of 20th and L streets.

$1.3 million to restore the Iceland ice skating rink in north Sacramento, which was nearly destroyed by fire nine years ago. Construction would begin in Spring 2020 and it would reopen in November 2020 to celebrate the rink’s 80th anniversary.

$600,000 to support Fairytale Town’s expansion, which includes adding a “story center” building, outdoor classroom, and new admission building.

$2.03 million for a bike trail along the Sacramento River in Pocket/Greenhaven.

The City Council will vote Tuesday on the proposal.

To see the full list, click here.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she worked as a local government reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Daily Press in Virginia and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.