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Budget adjusted for code enforcement, fire response


Last updated 5/29/2008 at Noon

Despite some decreases in county revenue, the third-quarter budget adjustments approved May 13 by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will provide a net increase of $4,093,574 in appropriations and will fund projects including temporary Code Enforcement staffing and response costs from the October 2007 fires.

The adjustments included a total of $21,063,048 in additional appropriations while canceling $16,969,474 of 2007-08 appropriations.

Although some lost revenue was reflected in the adjustments, the supervisors replaced $11,800,000 of expected Proposition 172 sales tax receipts for the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s office, and Probation Department by appropriating $4,000,000 from management reserves and $7,800,000 from the 2006-07 fund balance of the county’s Public Safety Group.

The mid-year predictions anticipate a balance of $164.6 million in excess of the planned budget.

Although revenues are expected to be $102.8 million less than budgeted, expenditures are now expected to be $267.4 million less than expected. Some of that savings is due to unspent contingency reserves or savings from departmental operations, and delays in state contracts or reductions in state funding create equal losses in revenue and expenditures as do reductions in user fees.

The county’s second-quarter budget adjustments approved by the supervisors February 26 included an additional $4,000 for computers and information technology costs at four Code Enforcement storefront offices in Fallbrook, Ramona, Spring Valley, and Bonita.

The storefront offices are be staffed one day per week for an eight-hour period, and Code Enforcement staffing was previously covered when the 2007-08 budget was approved in June 2007.

Despite the presence of the existing Code Enforcement staff, caseloads average between 125 and 150 open cases each month.

The supervisors’ approval of $92,000 from the 2006-07 fund balance of the county’s Land Use and Environment Group, which includes the Department of Planning and Land Use, will fund the temporary staff believed to be necessary to reduce existing caseloads to 100 open cases per month while still providing the same quality of service for all customers.

The 2006-07 Land Use and Environment Group balance also allowed for the mid-year appropriation of $107,000 for Department of Land Use salaries and benefits to offset unanticipated staff costs to provide damage assessment from the October 2007 wildfires and $117,750 for Department of Environmental Health salaries and benefits to offset the cost of providing fee waivers for fire victims.

The Public Safety Group 2006-07 balance will provide $1,539,290 to the county’s Office of Emergency Services to cover the costs related to response and recovery during the fires, providing OES with $772,785 for services and supplies, $715,505 for capital assets equipment, and $51,000 for salaries and benefits.

The cost of the response and recovery efforts, including the establishment of local assistance centers, totaled $4.5 million.

On October 24 the supervisors had approved appropriations of $3 million from the general fund contingency reserve to the Office of Emergency Services for initial response and recovery costs.


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