County Approves Balanced $4.4 Billion 2013-14 Budget

(June 14) The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on June 12 approved a $4.4 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14, which the county’s chief executive officer, Greg Devereaux touted as balanced and forward looking.
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Janice Rutherford said, “Despite the ongoing effects of the economic downturn, the county budget is balanced and incorporates major investments in key priorities, including road maintenance, public safety, and efforts to streamline the county’s land use approval processes.”
The fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. The county will place 155.1 million more into its general fund in the upcoming year than it will utilize in the nearly ended 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
It is notable that the largest line item in the budget is that devoted to the county’s Human Services division, which will eat up $1.6 billion of the revenue that will be coming into the county over the next 12 months. A portion of that outlay will go toward hiring 158 new employees in the Transitional Assistance Department.
The county’s law and justice group, consisting of the sheriff’s department, district attorney’s office, probation department, and public defender’s office, will utilize $825.7 million over the course of the next 12 months.
The county will devote a whopping $37.9 million to staffing and further expansion work on the Adelanto Detention Center.  The county will also spend $18 million for other jail upgrades, $15.7 million for a new crime lab and $360,000 for medical marijuana enforcement.  The budget also has provided $150,000 for improvements to sheriff’s department resident posts, which consist of resident deputy housing at various locations throughout the county.
Other notable elements of this year’s county budget are a $4.5 million increase for pavement management programs and transportation projects; $4.5 million for the relocation of the sheriff’s department’s aviation division at Rialto Airport, located at 1776 Miro Way in Rialto to  San Bernardino International Airport; $4.5 million for a buildings acquisition and retrofit project to acquire existing office space near the Victorville Courthouse to locate general funded departments currently in leased space; $1.6 million to the Land Use Services Department to begin updating the county’s general plan; and $524,276 for the Homeownership Protection Program, which will identify all housing funding mechanisms and programs to help families keep their homes.
The budget also sets aside funding for expenditures in future years, including $18 million for future jail upgrades, $13 million for future upgrades to the county’s financial accounting system, $10 million for future upgrades to the county animal shelter, $5.9 million for the upcoming Rimforest Storm Drain Project, $5.4 million for future activity by the Land Use Services Department, $4 million for future acquisition efforts and retrofit projects on county buildings, and $200,000 for future updates to the county code and county charter.
The county’s general fund spending authority totals $2.5 billion, only $498.9 million of which, according to Devereaux “is truly discretionary.”
Slightly more than $1.9 billion of the county’s budget lies outside the general fund.

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