Written by Julianne Foster
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond posted an update on the county’s situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic and unfolding events related to the county budget.
San Diego has seen an improvement in the number of cases in the county and has successfully stayed off the state’s watchlist for over a week now. The positive test rate is only 3.6% positive, half of what the rate was a month earlier. A 14-day cycle began on August 18 to see if it’s safe to reopen K-12 schools for in-person instruction. The county is seeing many successes, but Supervisor Desmond and his team are continuing to fight for businesses to reopen for the sake of those unequipped to successfully function outdoors or those whose outdoor options are crippled by the recent excessive heat.
“I want you to know that my staff and my office, we’re working on trying to get some of these hurdles overcome and hopefully get some more businesses open,” said Desmond.
The new county budget worth $6.45 billion was passed unanimously in a meeting of the Board of County Supervisors on Tuesday. Desmond said that one-third of the budget would go to human resources, another third for public safety, and the remaining third would go to various programs. A lot of money would be funneling into COVID-19-related issues and supporting those affected, such as $24 million for rental assistance.
However, they “have to keep the engine of the county running” so they have included various city improvements for Valley Center, Vista, and Rancho Santa Fe. Desmond proposed for Valley Center parks to receive the $4 million for improvements after their request to be dissolved into the County Park’s system is accepted through the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
For Rancho Santa Fe, he requested $10 million to be allocated for road improvements to begin the approved inclusions of roundabouts, which are supported by the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District for public safety.
In Vista, traffic surrounding the transit situation in Buena Creek and Santa Fe intersection at the Sprinter stop has led Desmond to ask for $5.4 million in road improvements. The Vista Fire Chief confirmed critical issues with the traffic holding up emergency service calls and response times.
After the budget was approved, Supervisor Jim Desmond gave credit to the staff members “for fighting to do the right thing. This is not easy.”