By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Board of Supervisors adopted the 2021-22 County budget on Tuesday, which invests in San Bernardino County’s communities, residents and businesses to help them recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the $7.6 billion budget recognizes the relative stability of County revenues and plans to keep significant resources available to address any possible future economic challenges. The Board has maintained its long-standing fiscally prudent approach by setting aside an additional $41 million towards its General Purpose Reserve and is projecting to end 2021-22 with a $19 million General Fund operating surplus.
“We are being fiscally responsible with your tax dollars and we are listening to your priorities,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We are putting resources in the right direction and this budget gives us the opportunity to move this county forward.”
While not included in the initial recommended budget, the Board also took action today to adopt a plan for the use of $423.5 million of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). This significant resource will help the County continue to respond to the pandemic, help with economic recovery and infrastructure and improve government operations.
“The 2021-22 Recommended Budget represents a significant step toward recovery from the pandemic,” Chief Executive Officer Leonard X. Hernandez wrote in a letter to the Board. “Through the investment of available financing sources, this budget will both strengthen the County’s fiscal stability while expanding and enhancing the County’s ability to provide high-quality services to our residents and investors.”
To address community concerns, the Board allocated $10.4 million over the next several years to help combat illegal marijuana cultivation, short-term rental oversight, illegal dumping and graffiti abatement, snow play nuisance abatement, illegal vending in problem areas and illegal trucking activities.
“This budget reflects your commitment to public safety in the county,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, citing the issue of illegal marijuana cultivation in the county.
The post-pandemic desire for outdoor activities prompted an additional $5 million investment in the County’s Regional Parks with capital improvements planned at Glen Helen, Yucaipa, Prado, Guasti, and Mojave Narrows regional parks.
Fighting homelessness remains a priority in the County budget. There is a renewed focus and staffing added to the Homeless Strategic Plan, which aligns the county’s homeless population with health and housing services provided by the County and its partners.
In addition, technological upgrades are due for County systems and online services that help residents and businesses receive a necessary and evolving level of service that is timely and convenient and helps the County generate revenue to continue serving the public’s needs.