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The County of Riverside Executive Office released a recommended budget for fiscal year 2021/2022 that includes nearly $7 billion for vital regional and local services. The recommended budget demonstrates the values that drive the important work of the county. These priorities are to improve the quality of life for residents, transform the delivery of services, seek systemic equity, as well as support pandemic relief and recovery.
“Aligning the county’s budget to the values and priorities of the Board of Supervisors is a constant and disciplined effort,” said County Executive Officer Jeff Van Wagenen. “This recommended budget starts the process for a strategic plan that will ultimately achieve just that. A budget is much more than numbers.”
The county’s wide-ranging programs include social services, public works projects, community services, healthcare, and public safety services for Riverside County residents. Approximately $950 million of the total budget is made up of general fund expenses. This year, $3 million is specifically recommended for unincorporated areas, in response to a survey conducted earlier this year to prioritize projects in underserved, unincorporated communities.
The recommended budget also preserves roughly $240 million in federal relief funding to address pandemic response and recovery needs.
“While we are optimistic for the future, we must recognize that challenges remain,” said Van Wagenen. “Achieving fiscal stability is one of our priorities and working toward a balanced budget is a fundamental objective.”
Recommended Budget At-a-Glance
Discretionary revenue is anticipated to be $921 million, an increase of $65 million from last year’s adopted budget. The anticipated rise in the discretionary revenue is primarily attributed to a net increase in property and sales taxes, redevelopment residual assets and motor vehicle revenue.
The recommended general fund discretionary spending, or net county cost (NCC), is $957 million, an increase of $39 million from last year. The increase in spend is primarily from increased labor, COVID-19 and unanticipated one-time costs. The NCC includes $20 million in contingency reserved for emergency board action.
The executive office recommends a balanced general fund discretionary budget with the use of reserves. The projected balance for reserves is $232 million, which is $2 million above the 25 percent of the discretionary requirement based on Board Policy B-30.
It is important to note that this recommended budget was developed without relying heavily on COVID-19 federal relief funding. In March, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts. Riverside County’s share of ARPA funding is $479 million, half of which has been received by the county, and the second half is expected May 2022. None of these funds have been programmed into this recommended budget. The executive office and departments are working with the board to develop an effective and equitable spending plan, with a focus on supporting public health, laying the foundation for a strong economic recovery, investing in infrastructure, and strengthening community resiliency.
The recommended budget will be discussed by the Board of Supervisors, along with department presentations, during upcoming budget workshops on June 14 and 15. Following any adjustments by the board, the final budget is scheduled to be adopted June 29. Next fiscal year runs from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.
To read the recommended budget, click here.