Board votes to proceed with public hearings on $5B budget - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Board votes to proceed with public hearings on $5B budget

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to begin public hearings June 10 on a proposed $4.97 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

The plan would increase spending in the fiscal year that begins July 1 by 2.5 percent over the current year. It would also provide funding for the equivalent of 16,601 full-time jobs, an increase of 3.7 percent.

Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer presented the spending plan to the supervisors, and called it one of "modest growth."

Most of the new positions would be in public safety and the Health and Human Services Agency, both of which will receive spending increases. The proposal calls for public safety to get a 4.4 percent boost to pay for more detention staff, operate the expanded women's jail for part of the year, and make higher retirement contributions.

Health and Human Services would get an extra 3.6 percent to pay for changes to various programs and add staff. The Land Use and Environment, and Finance and General Government sectors would also get more money.

Funding for capital projects is set to decrease by almost 39 percent. However, infrastructure spending varies widely from year to year because of the way the county funds its projects.

Work that would be funded in the next fiscal year are libraries in Alpine and Imperial Beach, renovation of the assessor's branch office in El Cajon, $9.8 million in debt service for the Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility in Santee, and $10 million for its Multiple Species Conservation Program.

Supervisor Greg Cox said the proposed budget was "balanced and well thought out."

Robbins-Meyer said the county faces several risks, including a "fragile" economy, unemployment that remains high despite recent job gains, and uncertainty over sequestration spending cuts by the federal government and the impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

She also said the state Legislature was preparing bills to shift higher health care costs onto counties.

The county, which plans its budgets two years at a time, also has proposed spending $4.81 billion in 2014-15.

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