by Photo courtesy of San Diego County

San Diego County plans to make significant investments in staffing to prioritize public safety, land use, health, and social services with its proposed $7.15 billion budget

The county said it would add more than 1,000 staff to address “priority areas” with a budget that is about 1.1 percent smaller than last year, due to the decreased need for COVID-19 response. 

According to county Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher, the county has worked to redirect priorities over the past four years for a budget that will make " a positive difference for San Diego".

“It's the best-recommended budget that I've seen since joining the board because of its focus on supporting working families and vulnerable communities,'' Fletcher said.

The 2022-23 budget recommends adding $71.8 million and 115 new positions in an effort to transform the county’s behavioral health system, and support the  Mobile Crisis Response Teams, made up of mental health experts to respond to crises rather than law enforcement. 

A proposed investment of  $11.9 million in the form of a one-time stimulus is recommended fund to develop affordable housing to reduce homelessness. The county plans to allocate a $10 million increase for partnerships with cities to buy shelters and places for people to stay.

The budget also recommends an investment of $130 million in healthcare services in County jails, along with several investments in rehabilitative services, de-escalating training, and increased staffing. 

According to the budget's recommendations, the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice will be funded with $3.5 million. More than $25 million will be invested to cut greenhouse gas emissions in unincorporated communities, including $1 million to support electric vehicle charging stations, while nearly $60 million will be spent on other environmental improvements. 

The county will hold two public meetings on May 19 and 20 to deliver an overview of the proposed budget for board approval by June 30. 

The public can comment in person or by phone at two budget hearings in June: a daytime hearing on June 13, and an evening session on June 16. People can also comment online through e-comment until budget hearings close.

The public can attend virtual community budget meetings for each Board of Supervisors district. Visit the San Diego County’s website to register for the community budget hearings and for more information on the 2022-23 budget. 

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