Written by Julianne Foster
San Diego County officials recently approved a record county budget with most of it channeling into COVID-19 relief funds. The $6 billion budget was made possible by the rainy day reserve funds, which have been carefully protected in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or, as it turns out, a global pandemic.
While Democrat County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher challenged officials many times to empty the reserve in pursuit of various liberal plans, the decisions made by the Republican majority to hold off on using the funds has come to be greatly beneficial to San Diegans.
“We could be having a very different discussion today if not for the county’s fiscally responsible approach,”said County Supervisor Jim Desmond. “I’m glad to move forward today and adopt the budget but we need to get the economy going this year or we will be having a more difficult discussion next year.”
Within District 5, the district that Supervisor Desmond serves, there will be many road and park improvements as well as increased funding for those severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fallbrook, Rainbow, Rancho Santa Fe, Twin Oaks Community, and Valley Center will all be receiving road improvements to make roads notorious for traffic collisions and deaths safer for residents to use.
Valley Center will also be receiving $4 million for park improvements through the LAFCO process of dissolving the Valley Center Parks District into the County Park system. For community enhancement, the money will also be used to increase the Community Enhancement grant program to support local businesses and Chambers of Commerce, which greatly contribute to the needs of San Diegans.
A huge part of the budget faces the reality of hardships San Diegans are facing to pay rent and feed their families during these crippling blanket lockdowns. The Board of Supervisors set up San Diegans to receive more rental assistance through a $25 million fund. This reserve they built up is having a positive impact on struggling San Diego communities thanks to leaders like Supervisor Jim Desmond, whose fiscal responsibility positioned the county to step up for San Diegans during their time of need.