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County’s $230-Million Spending List

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Aired 6/8/10

Public hearings on the county budget begin next week. One of the decisions the Board of Supervisors will consider is how to spend its $430 million in reserves.

— Public hearings on the county budget begin next week. One of the decisions the Board of Supervisors will consider is how to spend its $430 million in reserves. The money is in an undesignated, unreserved fund – that’s money left over after all the bills were paid last year. The County board of Supervisors is considering spending about $230 million of that reserve on a wide range of projects.

The list includes spending $46 million on building a new operations center, $44 million on upgrading the property tax system and about $16 million to protect core services in the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices.

Jason Everitt is an analyst with the San Diego Center on Policy Initiatives – an advocacy group for working people.

He questions the priorities of the county for accumulating such a large reserve in the midst of an economic crisis. Especially since the county budget also includes eliminating 600 jobs and cutting social services.

“Is it helping people with the struggle they’re having now or is it putting it off and putting it off and making cuts and then choosing out of this surplus what they want to provide.”

Lani Lutar is the president of the San Diego Taxpayers’ Association, a group that has awarded the county for the way it manages its finances.

“We absolutely think it’s a good thing that the county has had surpluses at the end of the year especially during these tough economic times when there is so much uncertainty.”

Lutar says it’s more fiscally responsible to spend these funds on one-time expenses, things such as capital projects rather then supporting salaries. Lutar says the county is also wise to put money away to pay down its increasing pension debt.

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