By Patch- Press Release Desk, News Partner
Ventura, CA – The County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a $2.55 billion balanced Budget for FY 2021-2022 at Monday’s Budget Hearing. “This budget, at the direction of the Board, represents the culmination of over six months of work with departments, the fiscal team, the Board and community. What results is a real focus on pandemic recovery, both the health and economic impacts,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “The budget also supports sustaining critical core services of health, social and safety services, streets and roads, investment in capital as well as IT infrastructure. At the same time, it enhances what the Board has identified as a priority including public health, mental health, services for individuals facing homelessness and climate action.”
Recognizing the great need to support unsheltered individuals, the budget includes ongoing support of year-round shelters, rapid re-housing/rental assistance, street outreach, homelessness prevention, landlord engagement, youth services and permanent supportive housing. Additional State and Federal funding is also under review to support continued crisis response and permanent housing resources.
“It’s astounding to be able to put out so many resources to help people on so many levels,” said Chair of the Board Linda Parks. “I am really happy with the strength of this budget. Our priorities were taken and put into numbers and that means services and support for our communities.”
The budget also includes expanding public health services, new positions in mental health diversion programs, increased staffing and services funding in the Farmworker Resource Program, new positions to support diversity, equity, inclusion, and community engagement efforts among others.
In support of mental health services, the budget includes a General Fund contribution to fund staffing for seven remaining inpatient psychiatric beds at the Ventura County Medical Center Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. The increased funding will enable the County to add four additional chairs to the Crisis Stabilization Unit.
In support of environmental sustainability, the budget includes funding and staffing for the implementation of the Climate Action Plan. This plan was adopted as part of the General Plan to evaluate policies and programs for greenhouse gas reduction, sea level rise and climate adaptation strategies that address county vulnerabilities to climate change and increase the County’s long-term resilience.
The budget also invests in supporting foster youth and adult protective services, support for increased substance use services, the transition of the state Division of Juvenile Justice closure that shifts responsibility for young adults up to age 25 to county youth facilities among other areas of public safety and wellness.
The County continues to invest in infrastructure including significant upgrades to the County’s Fire Stations and the purchase of the Family Justice Center to provide services to victims of crimes.
Key budget highlights include a total County appropriation of $2.55 billion, up $97.9 million or 4.0% from prior year. General Fund General Purpose Revenues include $464.8 million, up $17.2 million or 3.9% from prior year. COVID-19 response programs carried forward into FY 2021-22 include business assistance grants, housing support for people facing homelessness, vaccine distribution, providing food to homebound seniors and those with disabilities, farmworker assistance and Ventura County medical System Operations. “Pandemic recovery doesn’t recognize fiscal years. Supportive programs are continuing into this next budget year to help our community recover,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. The budget increases business fee waivers to 100 percent totaling an estimated $3.6 million in support of further pandemic economic recovery. The budget comes after the County’s $373 million COVID-19 Spending Plan through June 30, 2021 which was carefully budgeted to ensure that the maximum amount was invested in services for the community.