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The budget is geared toward achieving the Countywide Vision, www.sbcounty.gov/vision, while reflecting the County’s ongoing struggle to cope with a deep economic downturn and dramatic and continuing increases in pension liabilities.
The $4.8 billion budget is $165.2 million smaller than the current budget and responsibly closes a $21 million gap between projected ongoing revenues and expenses without using reserves to cover ongoing expenses. The gap was fueled primarily by $12 million in federal and state takeaways and $9.7 million to cover the costs of AB 109 state prison realignment.
The budget fills the gap mainly through anticipated concessions from labor union members. If for any reason those concessions do not materialize, the only alternative will be to make deep and drastic cuts to other county programs.
County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux described his staff’s effort to bring the Board a responsibly balanced budget as “two steps forward, one and a half steps back.” The economy has improved and revenues are slowly on the rise. However, it will take the County several more years to recover from the recession, which put the County behind in funding infrastructure, pensions, and basic services.
The economic downturn forced the County to make 47-percent cuts in non-public safety services such as parks, museums, and Registrar of Voters; get many employees to agree to forgo raises and fund their share of retirement contributions; and eliminate funding for community projects.
Needs that have gone unmet include jail staffing, adequate law enforcement patrol and Code Enforcement in unincorporated areas, roads and other needed infrastructure, and funding for worn out vehicles and other equipment.
The budget leaves 84 percent of the recently built 1,392 High Desert Detention Center expansion unstaffed and unused. There are also $117.1 million in county assets – vehicles, computers, etc. – that are beyond their useful life and there is no funding to replace them.
The budget manages to build up County reserves, but reserves will only be at 13.8 percent, which is well below the 20 percent mandated by County Policy. Healthy reserves are essential to maintain the County’s good credit rating and are necessary to fund large projects and to cover unexpected expenses.
“When we have an earthquake we will need this pot of money available,” Mr. Devereaux said.
The County of San Bernardino this week surpassed its own record, winning 31 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties for its innovative programs and services, including top honors for the Countywide Vision as well as the State of the County event, which promotes the Vision.
Last year, the County won 18 NACo awards and has won an average of 14 NACo awards annually for the past 10 years. The most awards the County received from NACo were 27 in 2011. The NACo Achievement Awards Program recognizes innovative county government programs in the areas of children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, and health.
This year, San Bernardino County led the region with more awards than the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura. Only 29 of California’s 58 counties received top awards.
The Countywide Vision won a 2014 Achievement Award in the category of County Administration and Management. The Board of Supervisors formed a partnership with the San Bernardino Association of Governments and launched the Countywide Vision in 2010 after receiving public input and feedback from experts on improving the county and moving it forward. The Countywide Vision is an active, ongoing, collaborative process aimed at setting a course of the county as a whole, improving life within the county and making the county attractive to investors.
“San Bernardino County consistently earns these accolades because we encourage our employees to share their ideas on how to improve services and find efficiencies so we can better serve our residents and businesses,” Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford said.
The Board of Supervisors will recognize and honor the people and departments responsible for the 2014 winning programs and services at an upcoming public meeting.
The following are San Bernardino County’s 2014 winning programs:
The $4.8 billion recommended budget is $165.2 million smaller than the current budget and reflects the County’s effort to achieve the Countywide Vision. It also reflects the County’s ongoing struggle to recover from the Great Recession and cope with dramatic increases in pension liabilities. However, it does manage to fund the first phase of High Desert Detention Center staffing, fully fund the County’s leave liability, invest more in road maintenance and improvements, and fund an upgrade to the County’s public safety radio system without incurring additional debt.
The San Bernardino County Elections Office is continuing to make it convenient for voters to cast a ballot in the 2014 Statewide Primary Election by expanding early voting in the County. Beginning today, voters can vote early during normal business hours at the Hesperia Branch Library and the Montclair Branch Library. Earlier this month, early voting began at the San Bernardino County Elections Office.
All three early voting locations will also serve as a mail ballot drive-thru drop-off location on Election Day. Elections Office staff will be stationed in the parking lot to accept voted mail ballots and distribute “I Voted” stickers. The drive-thru drop-offs will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
“These new early voting locations and mail ballot drive-thru drop-offs are just two examples of the many improvements we’ve implemented to make voting more convenient for San Bernardino County voters,” said San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, Michael J. Scarpello. “In addition to these improvements, we recently added 55 locations throughout the county where voters can deliver their mail ballots,” Scarpello said.
Voters can also drop-off their mail ballots at any one of the county’s 413 polling places on Election Day. All mail ballot drop-off locations and polling places can be found on the Elections Office website at www.sbcountyelections.com. Voters can sign up to receive a mail ballot by filling out the Mail Ballot Application found in their Voter Information Guide, by downloading an application from the Elections Office website, or by calling the Elections Office. The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is tomrrow, Wednesday, May 28.
For more information about this election, visit the Elections Office website, www.sbcountyelections.com, or call (909) 387-8300.
For more information and updates about the reopening, visit www.sbcnep.org.
The area was closed during the Etiwanda Fire which has since been fully contained.
Gov. Jerry Brown today announced he has appointed San Bernardino County Public Works traffic chief Mohammad Qureshi of Redlands to the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists.
Qureshi has been chief of traffic at Public Works of since 2012. He was regional director and senior project manager at LIN Consulting from 2007 to 2012, director of the Jackson State University Institute for Multimodal Transportation from 2006 to 2007 and assistant professor and director at the University of Missouri-Rolla’s Missouri Local Transportation Resource Center from 2000 to 2006. Qureshi was a research specialist at the University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research from 1998 to 2000 and senior associate at the Resource Systems Group Inc. from 1995 to 1997. Qureshi earned a Doctor of Philosophy in civil engineering from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Science in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
San Bernardino County is the largest county in the world and one of the nation’s most populous. The diversity and volume of services County Government provides might still surprise you. During tonight’s State of the County speech, Chair Janice Rutherford cited a number of quirky and interesting facts about the County:
2,076,399 – County population (more than 14 states)
20,160 – Size of the county in square miles (larger than Switzerland)
5,981 – Tires purchased by County Government in 2013
200 – Mosquito Fish on-hand for county residents with fish ponds
676 – Copies of “Green Eggs and Ham” in County libraries
5,825 – Average daily jail population
64 – Species at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge
160 – Animals at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge
1,134,088 – Cookies baked by the County in 2013
22 – Rare-earth minerals and metals mined in the County
15,000 – Toothbrushes purchased by the County in 2013
10,000 – Tubes of toothpaste purchased by the County in 2013
65,464 – Environmental Health inspections during fiscal year 2012-13
258,148 – Outpatients seen at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in 2013
0 – Deficiencies found during a recent inspection of ARMC
115,000 – Arrowhead Regional Medical Center ER visits, 2013
278,560 – Latex gloves purchased by the County in 2013
19,953 – Gas pumps inspected by the County in 2013
$56 million – Saved by county consumers in 2013 thanks to scale/gas pump/scanner inspections
7,000 – Coloring books purchased by the County in 2013
6,500 – Crayon 4-packs purchased by the County in 2013
80 – Sentinel chickens to warn the County about impending disease
200,000 – Bird eggs at the County Museum
185,742 – Calls for Sheriff service in unincorporated County areas in 2013
1,403 – Square miles covered by the Victor Valley Sheriff’s station (just shy of Rhode Island)
8,000 – Disposable diapers purchased by the County in 2013
15,171 – Public Health immunizations during fiscal year 2012-13
102,450 – Apples purchased by the County in 2013
250 – Bridges maintained by County Public Works
1,805 – Number of Sheriff’s volunteers
3,800 – Poll workers who served during the 2012 presidential election
1,171 – People who received job training through the Workforce Investment Board in 2013
13 – Aircraft Owned & Operated by the County
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Caltrans are hosting a live webinar to discuss the High Desert Corridor’s potential rail component and connections to the Palmdale Transportation Center in Palmdale and Desert Xpress in Victorville.
The webcast will be streamed live on Feb. 26, 2014 at 7 p.m. on https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4621315897213406209. Webinar participants will be able to share comments and ask questions during the live webcast.
The High Desert Corridor Study is currently considering an approximately 63-mile long, east-west multipurpose transportation corridor, between State Route 14 in Los Angeles County and State Route 18 in San Bernardino County. The HDC could include the following: freeway/expressway, toll lanes, and/or a high speed rail connection, green energy production and transmission, and a bikeway. The proposed project aims to improve mobility and access for people and goods in the rapidly growing Antelope, Victor Valley areas of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.