County passes record $6.27B budget

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously passed a record $6.27 billion budget for the coming fiscal year.

The financial plan increases spending by more than an 8 percent over this year's spending, partially made possible by a 4.7-percent projected increase in assessed property values.

The largest share of the budget, 33.6 percent, goes to health and human services: $2.1 billion. Just over 30 percent, or $1.9 billion, goes to public safety.

The largest share of spending in all categories goes toward salaries, which account for $2.23 billion of the total budget. That includes an increase of 167 full-time equivalent positions.

Aiding the homeless is among the target areas of the budget. For example, the spending plan will pay for a pilot program in which teams of medics and mental health professionals will assist homeless people instead of police.

The budget will also pay for an increase in the number of public health nurses to administer immunizations and tend to other medical needs.

Other areas of spending include two new Live Well Centers in Oceanside and Southeast San Diego. Those centers, intended to bolster self-sufficiency, offer medical and social services under one roof.

Before the board approved the budget though, a group called Invest in San Diego Coalition, took over the public comment portion advocating for the creation of a new department to assist refugees and immigrants.  Crystal Irving, who works in child protective services said she was sickened by what she has seen at the border, "it illustrates a need to create a new department to deal with these families."