Hundreds urge San Diego County Board to spend $1.7B surplus - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hundreds urge San Diego County Board to spend $1.7B surplus

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - San Diego County's largest labor union, community activists, faith leaders and small business owners on Wednesday rallied to improve the quality of life during the County Board of Supervisors' public testimony on the proposed $5.69 billion budget.

The county is sitting on a nearly $2 billion surplus, and many think that money should be used to improve the lives of working families.

"The more we invest in our San Diego families, the more we invest in our economy," said Brad Keiller, owner of Nomad Donuts.

Board Chair Diane Jacob said the county does not have billions of dollars to spend.

"The number $1.7 billion in reserves for the county, is totally wrong, false," she said.

Some of the money, however, has already been dedicated, leaving the county with $747 million in the reserve.

"We need that reserve to go forward and sustain and pay for our employees and pay for the that pension," said Jacob.

Some believe the county should not hold on to all the money.

"If it's saved for a rainy day, it's raining for a lot of people right now," said Keiller.

As the county conducts negotiations with SEIU, many see the balanced budget as a way to bargain their salary.

"They have cut our overtime and done a lot of shady stuff," said a SEIU member.

Aside from the surplus concern, the budget went up about 6.2-percent compared to last year.

"This budget does increase for homeless, for those who are mentally ill, the seniors and the disabled and elderly," said Jacob.

The public has until June 21st to submit their comments, and budget deliberations are set for June 27th and June 28th.

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