Board Of Supervisors Approves $5.2 Billion Budget For Fiscal 2015-16

SAN BERNARDINO—(June 18) The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors passed a $5.2 billion 2015-16 budget for the county recommended by county chief executive officer Greg Devereaux this week.
The budget relies upon projected revenues of $5.2 billion and envisions the county’s governmental structure and its affiliates spending $5.1518 billion over the next 12 months.
The county and all of its internal departments and divisions are slated to spend $4.6427 billion in fiscal 2015-16, employing over 20,000 individuals. In addition, special districts within the geographical reach of San Bernardino County that are governed by the board of supervisors will expend $495.9 million, while employing 1,220. Other county affiliated agencies within the county that do not fall under the direct purview of the county employing 50 people will spend $13.2 million.
The lion’s share of the spending plan – $4,642,700,000 – is devoted to funding all county operations day to day throughout the fiscal year running from July 1 this year to June 30 next year, along with money to cover special revenue funds, capital project funds, internal service funds, and enterprise funds. The budget envisions the employment of 20,485 county employees over the next 12 months.
In his report dated June 16, 2015 recommending passage of the budget, Devereaux told the board of supervisors, “The 2015-16 Recommended Budget as presented includes total requirements for the general fund, special revenue funds, capital project funds, internal service funds, and enterprise funds, which total approximately $4.6 billion. Of the $4.6 billion, general fund requirements total $2.8 billion, further refined to $545.2 million that is truly discretionary. Additionally, the 2015-16 Recommended Budget includes approval of 20,485 budgeted staffing.”
This year’s projected $4,642,671,018 in-house spending package includes a $17,667,801 increase over last year’s $4,625,003,217 spending plan.
In making a quick overview summary of the county’s planned internal spending, Devereaux said the county intends to devote $290,668,840 to administration in 2015-16; $530,248,416 at the county hospital, known as Arrowhead Regional Medical Center; spend $12,940,810 on capital facility leases; lay out $203,632,417 on its capital improvement program; fund its economic development agency to the tune of $88,986,612; expend $76,323,183 on its fiscal function; spend $1,886,997,595 on line personnel; fund the county’s law and justice division with $925,110,684; and spend $386,212,617 on the provision of all order of community services. In cataloging the county’s spending, Devereaux further earmarked $241,549,844 for the remainder of county operations that were not itemized in that summary. Not contained in the funding breakdown offered to the board of supervisors for approval is the county’s funding of its housing authority. “The County’s recommended budget does not include the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB),” Devereaux said. “HACSB’s budget is proposed as a separate agenda item. HACSB operates on a different fiscal year and has different approval timelines to comply with federal government requirements. The county will work with HACSB over the coming year to determine how best to integrate HACSB’s budget process into the county’s overall budget process.”
Devereaux noted that the county anticipates spending less on capital improvements in the coming 2015-16 fiscal year than it did in the current 2014-15 fiscal year. “Requirements are decreasing by $30.8 million in 2015-16 primarily due to a decrease in budgeted expenditures for 2015-16 on the 800 MHz upgrade project, sheriff’s crime lab expansion, and county buildings acquisition and retrofit project as compared to 2014-15,” he said. “Requirements for major projects in the 2015-16 Recommended Budget include the 800 Megahertz (MHz) upgrade project that will provide a digital radio system upgrade for public safety, the continuance of the county’s building acquisition and retrofit project, and the relocation of sheriff’s aviation division from Rialto Airport to San Bernardino International Airport.”
Devereaux said the slightly less than $89 million going to the county’s economic development agency will employ 141 people dedicated to providing “services that seek to create, maintain, and grow the economic value of the county. Such services include small business assistance and technical support, permitting assistance, and business site selection assistance.”
The $76.3 million bankrolling the county’s fiscal division, Devereaux said, will fund 549 total positions, including 315 in the auditor-controller/treasurer/tax collector’s office, which will be provided with $41 million, as well as the assessor/recorder/county clerk’s office, which will employ 234 people and function using $35.4 million. “These departments provide services to the public and other county departments related to the establishment and collection of county property taxes along with other fiscal services that ensure the proper reporting and usage of taxpayer funds,” Devereaux said.
The $1.9 billion funding for the human services division will pay for 8,076 positions. “Human Services is the largest operational group within the county, with requirements totaling $1.9 billion,” Devereaux said. “This group provides health and social service programs to county residents through a number of county departments. Health services are provided primarily through the department of behavioral health ($407.4 million) and public health ($113.5 million). Social services are provided primarily through the human services administrative claim budget unit ($545.0 million), human service subsistence payments budget unit ($544.0 million), the preschool services department ($50.2 million), child support services department ($40.0 million), and the aging and adult services department ($9.4 million).”
According to Devereaux, the $925.1 million devoted to the county’s law and justice division funds the employment of 5,707 personnel, with $577.2 million going to the sheriff’s department, which also carries with it the coroner and public administrator functions, while apportioning $190.5 million of the sheriff’s funding for the operation of the county’s detention facilities; provides $181.8 million to the probation department; $81.5 million to the district attorney’s office and $38.3 million to the office of the public defender.
While Devereaux emphasized that the budget is balanced, he said there were threats, which he termed “risks,” to the budget, including potential increases to the wages paid to county employees brought about by the collective bargaining process, federal and state health care reforms and realignments, realignments of public safety funding, municipal bankruptcies, economic uncertainty generally and with regard to state and federal government funding, changes in transportation project funding, and both tax and pension volatility.

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