SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A $5.36 billion budget for the County of San Diego was approved Tuesday by the board of supervisors for fiscal year 2016-2017, which begins Friday.
"Today's budget maintains an excellent balance between the fiscal discipline demanded by our residents, while also meeting the needs of our most vulnerable population," Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer said. "The proposed budget before you today is one that all San Diegans can be proud of."
The budget is part of a two-year operational plan.
"Our mission and our goal is to truly help each and every one of us live well," Chairman Ron Roberts said before the 5-0 vote. "The budget before us today is one that all San Diegans can take satisfaction in."
County officials plan their spending in two-year cycles. The actual budget for the fiscal year is scheduled to be considered for adoption in August, but today's approval of the operational plan provides the county government the necessary authority to conduct business until then.
"We have a lot of challenges on the horizon and now is not the time to let down our guard, even though we are in better fiscal times than in past years," Vice Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said. "We never make everybody happy, but our job is to balance the interests and to make sure fiscally, most important, fiscally, that we keep on a very sound, strict track."
The budget is higher than the $5 billion first proposed in May.
The new budget will include an increase of $59 million for behavioral health services, including expansion of psychiatric emergency response teams and more housing and support for homeless people with mental health issues. An increase in spending is also planned for helping refugees, restorative justice, diversion and youth court, security at county facilities and summer night lights at some neighborhood parks.
The county plans to add the equivalent of more than 360 staff years, bringing total employment to 17,396 staff years -- quantified in that manner to account for part-time positions. Most of the new jobs will be in public safety and in the Health and Human Services Agency.
"I've often heard it said that nobody cares how much you know, they want to know how much you care," Supervisor Bill Horn said. "I think the county has demonstrated that. I think our actions have spoken louder than our words. We've put our money where our mouth is."