San Diego County releases $8.11 billion recommended budget focusing on equity
San Diego County released an $8.11 billion proposed 2023-24 budget Thursday with major investments in the realms of homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder, improving the justice system and investing in core services such as roads, fire protection and parks.
The "Invested in Community" budget is $745.8 million larger than last year's budget, a 10.1% increase. It also adds around 490 new positions, a 2.5% increase over last year, county officials said.
According to the proposal, the increase in both budget and staff will go toward supporting "new and expanded social service programs and increasing caseloads to assist vulnerable populations." It also has investments in infrastructure, such as a new Public Health Lab and affordable housing projects, according to the county.
"Much of the revenue to administer many of these programs comes from the state and federal government," according to a county statement. "It also comes from an increase in local property taxes. While this revenue supports the programs in the coming fiscal year, current economic uncertainty may impact future years."
According to the county, the 2024 budget proposal also has an equity tool factored in, intended to make sure historically vulnerable or underserved communities get their fair share of county dollars.
The public can view an executive summary here or the full recommended plan here.
Members of the public can provide feedback on the proposed spending plan in person or online. Two community budget meetings are scheduled, one at 2 p.m. May 16 at the County Operations Center, which can be attended in person or online. The second evening meeting will be virtual at 5:30 p.m. May 18.
Residents can also provide eComments on the recommended budget through June 21 on the county's community engagement budget page at Engage San Diego County,
A budget presentation will be made to the county Board of Supervisors on May 11. Public hearings are set for 9 a.m. June 12 and 5:30 p.m. June 15. Budget deliberations and adoption are scheduled for June 27.
Some highlights of the budget include:
- $18.3 million for implementation of the CARE Act, a state program for people with serious behavioral health issues that may provide services, shelter and treatment through a civil court proceeding
- $25 million increase for the Innovative Housing Trust Fund to help build affordable housing
- $2.7 million to restore land and improve water quality in the Tijuana River Valley
- $12.8 million for court programs to "support those with mental health, substance use and other needs," such as Collaborative Courts, Drug Courts, Mandatory Supervision Courts, Reentry Courts, Veterans Courts and Behavioral Health Courts
- $141.1 million increase for safety net program benefit payments, higher wages for In-Home Supportive Services caregivers, additional employment services and training for CalWORKS and CalFresh recipients and expanding Info Line 211 Access
- $17 million to build a Jacumba Fire Station
- $35.6 million to build a Santee Animal Shelter