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County of Orange releases FY 2019-20 Recommended Budget

The County of Orange’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 Recommended Budget has been released for review by the Board of Supervisors and the public. It is available online at http://www.ocgov.com/gov/ceo/deputy/finance/budget.

The budget is divided into seven sections or programs: Public Protection; Community Services; Infrastructure and Environmental Resources; General Government Services; Capital Improvements; Debt Service; and Insurance, Reserves and Miscellaneous.

Public budget hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, and, if not completed on June 11, will carry over to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, at the Hall of Administration Board Hearing Room, 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana. During the public hearings, budget staff will provide highlights of the County’s spending plan, discuss specific budget requests and answer questions from Board members and the public.

The final budget vote is scheduled for the June 25, 2019 Board of Supervisors meeting.

“The FY 2019-20 Recommended Budget is the first budget developed after clearing two significant financial milestones – the County’s closing of its 1994 bankruptcy case and the final Vehicle License Fee Adjustment Amount Settlement payment,” said County Executive Officer Frank Kim. “This Recommended Budget includes sustained funding for core services and addresses essential service needs of vulnerable populations served primarily by the community services departments and programs while also funding to infrastructure modernization and the County’s voting system.”

FY 2019-20 Recommended Budget Highlights:

  • Balanced and consistent with long-term strategic priorities and the Strategic Financial Plan.
  • Total budget is $6.8 billion, of which $3.7 billion is the General Fund Budget.
  • Of the $3.7 billion General Fund, $906.6 million is General Purpose Revenue, which is unrestricted and may be used for any purpose.

The FY 2019-20 Recommended Budget includes the following key initiatives:

Building a System of Care

The County continues to move forward with strategies to improve the overall response to homelessness across the region, including:

Regional Response to Homelessness and Emergency Shelter Developments

The Recommended Budget includes funding for the relocation of the Courtyard Transitional Center to a new facility identified in partnership with the City of Santa Ana. The County also remains committed to supporting city-led shelter programs through field-based outreach teams that integrate County behavioral health resources. The continuous partnerships between the County and each of the 34 cities in Orange County is essential to meet the needs of people, linking them from street outreach to shelter, as the System of Care continues to expand. Through these efforts and others, the County is working together with cities to respond to regional community needs.

Also included in the budget is funding for bridge housing and housing navigation to assist homeless individuals in overcoming barriers as they transition from the street to permanent housing.

System Integration

The County leverages available resources by integrating various County services within the emergency shelter, health care, behavioral health and community re-entry systems. Proposed initiatives address mental health and substance abuse treatment, providing community members linkages to services, recidivism reduction, and post-incarceration re-entry services to the community. To that end, the County purchased a centrally located building in the City of Orange to establish the Be Well OC Wellness Hub behavioral health campus which was made possible through partnerships with community organizations. Be Well OC will employ an integrated approach, co-locating mental health and substance abuse treatment which provides the ability to leverage funding and establish more effective and efficient service delivery systems. Services provided will include: crisis stabilization, recidivism reduction, and linkages to services for all community members.

Capital and Infrastructure Improvements

In addition to capital projects referenced above, the County continues to fund essential agency infrastructure in various areas, including:

Civic Center Facilities Strategic Plan (CCFSP)

The CCFSP objectives are to improve service delivery to the community with multiple departments at a combined location; address the aging portfolio of County facilities; maximize space utilization; and efficiently manage long-term occupancy and maintenance costs in the Orange County Civic Center, including the County Administration North and South Buildings.

Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Project

A public-private partnership will fully revitalize and construct a brand new state-of-the art complement of harbor amenities including two new hotels, new retail space and upgraded docks and recreational improvements while reducing County obligations and expenses during the 66-year lease term. The facilities were built in the 1970s, and much of the infrastructure has deteriorated and requires modernization or replacement.

Voting Centers

Replacement of election equipment nearing obsolescence will support Vote Center voting and comply with California Senate Bill 450. The new equipment takes advantage of technology advances and will be implemented in advance of the 2020 elections. In addition, implementation of voting centers in lieu of traditional polling places offers voters expanded opportunities to cast a ballot in person or by mail.

Other Capital Improvement Projects

The County strategically allocates available funding at the end of each year to fund one-time projects and priorities. Balances previously set aside provide funding for the following multi-year capital projects in this year’s Recommended Budget: James A. Musick Facility, Probation Multipurpose Rehabilitation Center, Youth Guidance Center – Classroom Facility, Katella Range Facility, Jail Electronics Security System, Jail Hardening, Intake Release Center Facility, and the 17th Street Clinic.

The FY 2019-20 Recommended Budget, Budget Augmentation Requests, Key Budget Message and Department Contact List can be found online at http://www.ocgov.com/gov/ceo/deputy/finance/budget.

The County also invites members of the public to explore additional budgetary and financial information online through the OpenOC data tool, the Strategic Financial Plan and quarterly budget reports. These helpful resources can be found at: http://ocgov.com/about/openoc/.

This article was released by the County of Orange.