Riverside County’s budget is $ 5.5 million for Deputy Patrols – Press Enterprise



$ 16.9 million of changes to Riverside County’s $ 6.9 billion budget for the coming fiscal year include funds to strengthen public safety in unincorporated areas and hire seasonal firefighters to help protect against forest fires to help burdened wards.

The board of trustees gave the go-ahead for the changes in a 4-1 vote on Tuesday, June 15, with Supervisor Jeff Hewitt voting no after his colleagues rejected his proposal, $ 10 million for the 3.6 Provide a billion US dollar pension debt to the county.

The budget for fiscal year beginning July 1 follows a budget of $ 6.5 billion that is expected to generate a surplus of $ 7 million thanks to unexpectedly high tax revenues and federal coronavirus aid.

At a budget hearing on Monday June 14, Sheriff Chad Bianco pleaded for a budget increase of $ 18 million, including $ 5.1 million to open a second floor of the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio – only about 380 beds in the 1,200-bed prisons are used for lack of funds for staffing – and 8.8 million US dollars to increase the staff in unincorporated communities.

In a recent poll of what residents in unincorporated areas wanted from the county government, more MPs were the top question. Supervisors have also heard from those who want funds on the sheriff to be spent on social programs to help disadvantaged communities.

The board changes do not include jail money, but instead give the sheriff $ 5.5 million to patrol unincorporated areas.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin, who asked the county an additional $ 2 million, is getting an additional $ 1 million. Hestrin told overseers he needed more funding to meet state mandates that the state legislature considered unfunded, such as removing their names from the registry.

The board also allocated $ 2.5 million for the temporary occupation of firefighters, which was sought by Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who warned that large forest fires could leave fire stations empty for long periods of time.

  • Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt suggested spending $ 10 million on the county’s $ 3.6 billion pension debt. (File Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

  • Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington said the board decided last year to borrow more than $ 700 million in bonds to refinance its obligations to California’s public employee pension scheme. (File photo by Thomas Kelsey, contributing photographer)

  • Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel, seen at a board meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, said the county must try to fulfill some funding requests despite pension concerns. (File Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise / SCNG)

  • Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries proposed a $ 2.5 million allocation for temporary firefighters that was approved. (Courtesy Riverside County)

  • Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco applied for money to open a second floor of the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio, but received no money. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise / SCNG)

The union that represents Cal Fire firefighters in the Riverside County unit has filed a health and safety complaint with the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal-OSHA) saying that the firefighters were physically disabled due to staff shortages and are mentally exhausted from working too much overtime made worse by the pandemic.

After County Executive Officer Jeff Van Wagenen said he did not recommend spending $ 10 million to pay pensions, Hewitt, a libertarian candidate running on the dismissal of Governor Gavin Newsom, said from the podium: “Well, there were times when I felt like I was on another planet up here. But I actually feel like I’m in another universe at the moment. “

If interest rates rise to contain inflation, “the money to carry this debt, a huge debt, a huge cloud over the future of the county, will go higher and higher,” Hewitt said.

“I want every single one of these county employees affected by this … get everything they were promised … we have to at least start trying and paying $ 10 million for a county this size, that just goes to show,” We are going in the right direction. “

Supervisor Chuck Washington noted that the board voted last year to borrow more than $ 700 million in bonds to refinance its commitment to California’s public employee pension scheme, a move the county has made over 17 years will save an estimated $ 230 million.

The savings, Washington said, will be placed in a trust fund that will generate interest and can be used to further pay down pension debts without affecting the rest of the budget.

“If we did this over a year, we would actually repay our pension liability by $ 13.5 million,” he said. “Seems like a smarter way to go to me.”

Board member Karen Spiegel argued that this is not the time to go this far into the budget process when the board has gathered public opinions on what services are needed to withdraw money to pay for those services.

“We still have a long way to go (on pensions), no question about it,” she said. “And (a) a $ 10 million payment would be great. But … I think we would betray (our constituents) if we didn’t at least try to meet some of the demands. “

Regulators are expected to officially approve the budget on Tuesday June 29th. You must do this by Wednesday June 30th.



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