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SB County: Shortfalls Dominate Mid-Year Budget Report

Defending Our Future Together - The Visioning Process

Safe Surrender Sites Expanded

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Main Office:
385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Chino Hills District Office:
14010 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Staff Members:
Larry Enriquez,
Chief of Staff

Joy Chadwick,
Deputy Chief of Staff

Brian Johsz,
District Director

Annette Taylor,
Executive Secretary

Naseem U. Farooqi,

Burt Southard,
Media Relations

Roman Nava,
Small Business Liason

Grace Hagman,
Field Representative

Jeanna Williams,
Field Representative
April 2011

SB County: Shortfalls Dominate Mid-Year Budget Report

Click the following link to view Supervisor Ovitt's Video:

Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux recommended a series of budget and staffing changes in a midyear budget review.

The report described a gloomy outlook for the county's finances with property tax revenues continuing to drop. The county is projecting a $31 million budget shortfall for its next fiscal year.

The sheriff, district attorney and probation department could also lose $11.4 million if the state's vehicle license fee increase is not extended beyond June. A budget proposal is expected to go to the board in April.

For the current fiscal year budget, property taxes are down $3.2 million due to reduced property values. Devereaux is recommending the county tap $2.91 million in contingency funds. The changes in the mid-year report are routine adjustments.

They include a $4.9 million increase in vehicle purchases for the sheriff's and human services departments, a $7.48 million decrease in behavioral health department spending due to a decrease in federal funding and a $5.87 million increase in sheriff's funding from state and federal grants received after the adoption of the budget last June.

The county will also see an increase in 150 positions in its Transitional Assistance Department, adding eligibility workers to meet the increased welfare caseloads. Those positions are funded with state and federal funding.

The increase in welfare demand and decrease in property values are not good signs for an early economic recovery. It doesn’t bode well for next year.

Devereaux's report to the board offers a few glimmers of hope, noting that positive job growth is expected this year and construction of large industrial facilities should restart because there is no more vacant Inland warehouse space. Retail sales have also stopped declining and, in the first three quarters of 2010, were up from the previous year. Sales taxes are just beginning to level off after previous declines.

Defending Our Future Together - The Visioning Process

For the first time in the history of San Bernardino County, all 24 cities, towns and the County are working together to create a vision of our future. We have solicited input from hundreds of citizens at community meetings throughout the county; questioned more than 25 groups of experts at specific subject-area meetings ranging from the environment to home building, from the military to education and from water to health care; and received more than 3,500 responses to an online survey.

The information has been fascinating and valuable as a base for discussing the future of our county. The top three things responders liked about the County were available recreation, available housing options at affordable prices, and available shopping and restaurants.

The top three things responders disliked were lack of employment opportunities, the county’s overall image and quality of roads. The top three things residents thought should be priorities for the county were: higher quantity and quality of jobs, more open and honest government, and continual improvement for public safety.

Staff from the County Administrative Office, Economic Development, and Human Services is currently crunching the data. Drafts of the Vision will be presented to city, town and county leaders at this month’s City-County Conference. Soon we will have a collective, shared Vision to guide us as we serve the public.

For more information on the San Bernardino County Vision Project, visit www.SBCounty.gov/Vision.

Safe Surrender Sites Expanded

In 2001, The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution that designated fire stations in San Bernardino County as Safe Surrender sites for mothers with newborns. Until recently, Big Bear Valley fire agencies have never had a mother surrender her newborn. On Oct. 18, 2010, the Big Bear City Community Services District adopted Resolution No. 963 designating Big Bear City fire stations as Safe Havens for the surrender of newborns.

State legislation allows a mother or person with lawful custody to bring a newborn baby within three days of birth to a hospital or other designated Safe Surrender sites without prosecution for child abandonment. On Sept. 24, a baby boy, determined to be just hours old, was left on the doorstep of a church on North Shore Drive. Churches are not Safe Surrender sites.

Big Bear sheriff’s deputies and local emergency medical personnel were alerted to the whereabouts of the abandoned infant by an anonymous phone call. The baby was found quickly and taken to the hospital. He was then turned over to the custody of Child Protective Services and is expected to survive. The mother was located and subsequently arrested several days later on charges of child endangerment because she left the infant at the church, which was not open at the time.

Signs will be posted at each of the staffed fire stations able to accept newborns. Any mother needing help is encouraged to call Project Cuddle at 888-628-3353. Project Cuddle can provide the mother with information on where to get medical treatment and supportive services. SB 1368 also allows for a two-week cooling off period allowing parents time to reconsider the decision and reclaim their child. Since the law took effect in 2001, more than 300 babies have been safely surrendered.