San Diego County

San Diego County leaders pass $8.5 billion budget with focus on public safety, behavioral health

The budget adds $46.9 million to the original proposal

The County Administration Building in San Diego, California.
Getty Images

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a budget of more than $8.5 billion for the 2024-25 fiscal year -- adding $46.9 million to the spending plan that was originally recommended in May, with most of the late increase ticketed for public safety and homelessness needs.

The adopted budget takes effect July 1.

In May, the county released an $8.48 billion recommended budget for the next fiscal year, an increase of $317.7 million, or 3.9%, over the 2023-24 adopted budget. Tuesday, supervisors approved the additional $46.9 million in the form of a change letter presented to them during their meeting.

Highlights of the adopted budget include:

  • over $2.7 billion for public safety, covering emergency, fire and law enforcement services;
  • over $1.1 billion for behavioral health services, to cover substance-use services, workforce development and youth suicide prevention, and over $9 million for services at the new Tri-City Medical Center Psychiatric Health Facility;
  • $98.7 million for residents considered to be at-risk, including $15 million for the Regional Homeless Assistance Program, incorporating emergency housing options and a new safe-parking site;
  • $90.9 million for Housing and Community Development Services, including the Innovative Housing Trust Fund and multifamily rental housing;
  • $812.2 million to provide access to food, health care and general relief, including money for child and family well-being;
  • $267 million for infrastructure and stormwater projects, to upgrade preparation for emergencies and future disasters;
  • $480.8 million for the Public Works Department to manage roads, sanitation and flood control; community infrastructure investments, including $132.9 million for new facilities and maintenance; and $75.8 million for Parks and Recreation and $66.6 million to County Library services;
  • $230 million for justice-reform efforts, including for Alternatives to Incarceration and related programs; and
  • $18.2 million for environmental sustainability, covering species and watershed protection and the planting of 4,000 new trees.

In a statement after the vote, board Chairwoman Nora Vargas said the budget "represents the largest public investment in building healthier, stronger communities in our county's history."

"We have centered equity in this budget to provide projects, programs and services for everyone, including recovery from the stormwater emergency, addressing homelessness, building community infrastructure, promoting environmental equity and expanding behavioral health services programs," Vargas added. "This is a reflection of our values as a county in serving the community and working families across the region."

In a separate statement, board Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer said the budget "reflects the new, proactive direction our county has been heading for the last three and a half years."

Supervisors on Tuesday praised Ebony Shelton, chief administrative officer, along with her predecessor, Sarah Aghassi, for their efforts in crafting the budget. They also credited various county staff members for helping to produce a balanced budget.

"These budgets don't come easy," Supervisor Joel Anderson said.

Shelton, in her first official meeting as CAO, said when Helen Robbins- Meyer retired from the position, the county was in transition.

However, Aghassi "brought her confident leadership style and conveyed stability to our organization, when there could have been uncertainty," Shelton added.

Supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe said she was grateful for the budget, and noted how it included funding for projects and facilities in her district, including the Casa de Oro Library.

Her colleague Jim Desmond said he appreciated money for expanded drowning prevention and healthy food programs.

He said it was important to be mindful of the basic needs the budget covers, especially for unincorporated area residents, as the county is their only services provider.

Desmond added that, while the overall budget is a good one, he was opposed to funding for legal services for undocumented migrants who are facing deportation from the United States.

The county accepted public feedback on the budget until June 13. There were also departmental budget presentations in May, along with public hearings earlier this month.

Contact Us