HomeRiverside County NewsRiverside County approves $9.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2024-25 with focus...

Riverside County approves $9.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2024-25 with focus on fiscal stability, service enhancements

Riverside County, California – On Tuesday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a budget of $9.2 billion for the fiscal year 2024-25. This budget is considered structurally balanced, with reserves expected to reach nearly $700 million.

“The recommended budget demonstrates the values that drive the important work of the county, focusing on improving the quality of life for residents, transforming the delivery of services, seeking systemic equity and achieving fiscal stability,” according to an Executive Office statement posted to the board’s agenda.

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During the budget hearings earlier this month, County CEO Jeff Van Wagenen emphasized the need for cautious spending in the future. He pointed out that financial pressures and costs are likely to increase while revenues may not grow significantly.

Following adjustments made on June 11, the board decided to allocate an additional $19.96 million for the 2024-25 fiscal year to support various agency costs. Significant increases include $7 million allocated for integrated services following a data banking reorganization, $6.1 million more for the Department of Public Social Services, and an additional $2 million for the Department of Animal Services to aid in their ongoing streamlining efforts.

The newly approved budget for Riverside County shows an 11% increase compared to the previous fiscal year’s plan. According to County CEO Jeff Van Wagenen, a major concern for departments in the 2024-25 fiscal year is the potential impact of California’s projected $68 billion budget deficit. Supervisor Kevin Jeffries expressed worries that reductions in state funds to local governments for required services could be severely damaging.

“The state budget is tanking by billions and billions of dollars, and history shows that local governments usually follow a year or two later,” he said.

A positive note for the upcoming fiscal year, starting July 1, is that the county’s reserve funds are expected to reach $698 million, up from $590 million at the close of the 2022-23 fiscal year. The Executive Office estimates that the county’s discretionary revenue, which can be used at the board’s discretion unlike programmed funds, will increase by $100 million to approximately $1.22 billion.

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Van Wagenen mentioned that there are still funds from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act within the county’s treasury, which need to be utilized by year-end. The county has received $480 million from ARPA and an additional $500 million from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act. These federal funds have been allocated towards budget stabilization, community development, infrastructure projects, and other initiatives.

In Riverside County’s new budget, $2.6 billion is allocated to the Riverside University Health System, making it the largest single expense at 27% of the total budget. This allocation marks a 5.6% increase in funding for healthcare services.

Following healthcare, public safety agencies will receive $2.2 billion, which is 8.5% more than last year and accounts for 23% of the total budget. Social services are also set to receive a significant portion of funding, with $2.1 billion from the General Fund. This too is an 8.5% increase from the previous year and represents 21.4% of the entire budget.

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The Board of Supervisors plans to make the final adjustments to the budget in September, following the conclusion of the state Legislature’s session.


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