(Victor Valley)– The Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a balanced and fiscally responsible budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, investing in infrastructure, public safety, social services, and reserves, and supporting achievement of the Countywide Vision.
“This budget reflects the board’s desire to improve life in our communities and keep our county finances on the right track,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.
The $5.2 billion budget includes funding for medical and mental health services in county jails, which under state prison realignment are now being used to house inmates serving long sentences. It also includes additional funding to support increased social services caseloads, funding to begin restoration of services reduced during the recession – including fiscal auditing, ongoing funding for road maintenance, investments in capital improvement and transportation projects, and a sizable contribution to county reserves – referred to by some as a “rainy-day fund”.
“I commend the board for doing the hard and responsible work of government,” said County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux. “Rather than spending money flashy items that grab headlines, the board is investing in operating systems and facilities that will save money in the long term.”
Supervisor Curt Hagman praised the investment in reserve funding, something he said the state failed to do while he served in the state Assembly. Supervisor Josie Gonzales recognized county staff for creating a clear, easy-to-understand budget. And Supervisor Janice Rutherford commended “the entire organization for the incredibly innovative work this county does”, noting that earlier this month San Bernardino County led the nation in claiming 46 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties.
During the past four years, the County has claimed nearly 150 national and state innovation awards for developing or improving services for county residents and investors.
“There are some great improvements in this budget. The worst times are behind us,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Robert Lovingood.
Despite a small surplus in the coming fiscal year, the County is still looking at many more years of tight budgeting in response to projections showing a shortfall of $17.7 million to $40.8 million by 2020 when the cost of possible employee pay and benefit increases are factored in.
The recommended budget adopted today by the Board of Supervisors can be viewed at http://www.sbcounty.gov/CAO/