SUPERVISORS GET LOOK AT NEW BUDGET

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By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

May 5, 2017 (San Diego) - How do you balance helping those who need it the most, meet the County’s daily obligations and build for the future? The answers are reflected in the County’s new budget.

The recommended operational plan, or budget, for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2017 was presented to the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The balanced budget is $5.7 billion, an increase of 6.2 percent, or $330 million, over the current fiscal year.

The plan offers more help for troubled youth, the growing aging population and seriously mentally ill people who are chronically homeless. The budget also calls for improving current services, regional public safety, roads, and renovating or replacing old, outdated facilities to better serve members of the public.

Regarding young people, the budget will help those caught up in human trafficking. The County will add rapid response advocates to assist human trafficking victims reported through the child abuse hotline. The District Attorney’s Office will also add resources to prosecute human traffickers.

Kids in the juvenile justice system will be paired with community mentors with similar backgrounds who have straightened out their lives. The mentors can help these kids get back on the right path. Families served by CalWORKS and Child Welfare Services will see new housing support services this coming year. The Department of Parks and Recreation is also expanding programs for at-risk youth.

At the other end of the age spectrum, more emphasis will be placed on “Aging Well” programs for seniors. These programs encourage seniors to exercise, eat right, keep their minds active and stay connected to their community. The County will continue to enhance programs for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and make sure those who live in residential care facilities or get home health care are also safe and cared for correctly.

Project One for All has already seen success in helping those who are chronically homeless and suffer severe mental illness. More than 300 homeless people have been housed with treatment. The County will continue working with its partners and add nearly $13 million to help meet the goal of housing 1,250 seriously mentally ill people who are living on the streets.

Here are highlights of the recommended plan:

Health and Human Services will see $1.9 billion, an increase of $44.8 million. The majority of that increase will help those with serious mental illness and alcohol or drug abuse issues.

  • $529.1 million for Behavioral Health Services
  • Increased self-sufficiency services
    • $1.8 million increase for housing support services for CalWORKS families and those in the child welfare system
    • $5.5 million increase for the new Whole Person Wellness pilot project which will provide wraparound services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are homeless or at risk of homelessness who also have serious mental illness or a substance abuse disorder.
  • Child Welfare Services
    • $3.8 million increase for Child Welfare Services
  • Aging
    • $900,000 increase for senior nutrition services, Alzheimer’s disease awareness and support services

Public Safety will see a budget of over $1.8 billion, an increase of $74.2 million. The budget includes resources for the following:

  • $4.5 million increase to add paramedic career staffing to five more rural fire stations
  • $4 million to implement body-worn cameras
  • $4 million for juvenile programs such as diversion, Alternatives to Detention, and     mental health and wraparound services for youth in the community
  • $3 million for restorative justice, community-driven programs and services
  • $1 million for resources focused on human trafficking

Infrastructure $152.9 million will fund 24 capital projects, including:

  • Sheriff Technology Center
  • Juvenile Justice Campus
  • Land for new Sheriff’s training facility
  • Funding for fire stations in Jamul and Palomar Mountain
  • Upgrades to Southeast Live Well Center, Health Services Complex, County             Administration Center
  • Open space acquisition
  • Bonita Library expansion

The budget will also invest $108.3 million to maintain the nearly 4,000 lane miles of roadways, 200 bridges, tens of thousands of culverts and traffic control devices and other improvement projects.

The County’s balanced budget is designed to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, maintain adequate reserves and its AAA credit rating. Public hearings for the proposed budget will begin June 12 and budget deliberations are set for June 27. Final adoption of the plan is scheduled for Aug. 1.

See the full recommended operational plan.