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Home / News / Politics / SB County board OKs budget, allocates $5M for affordable housing

SB County board OKs budget, allocates $5M for affordable housing

by Joe Taglieri
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The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Tuesday for a balanced $9.8 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

According to the county, the  2024-25 spending plan is characterized by prudent budgeting, less volatility and consistent community investment.

“Our hope is that as we see fluctuations in state and federal budgets and their spending, and the revenues we receive from any source, that we as a county can keep the greatest amount of stability here in our local jurisdiction and how we provide services to our communities,” said the county’s Chief Executive Officer Luther Snoke said in a statement.

Snoke along with Chief Financial Officer Matthew Erickson credited supervisors for consistently underestimating future revenues and overestimating risks that could lead to expenditures. That approach has made it possible to maintain or expand county services and programs while saving money for future initiatives and unforeseen needs amid state budget cuts and a struggling economy.

Officials noted the budget allocates $376.3 million to efforts to serve the homeless, public safety and economic development initiatives, disaster preparedness, infrastructure, community projects and the county’s emergency funds.

“I am excited about this year’s county budget, which will allow us to make key investments in infrastructure, economic development, keeping our neighborhoods safe, improving our parks, and significantly enhancing mental health services,” Supervisor Jesse Armendarez said in a statement. “Addressing mental health is a top priority, and these investments will make a real difference in our community. I look forward to seeing more of these plans come to life in the Second District.”

| Image courtesy of San Bernardino County

Most of the $9.8 billion in the budget is for programs mandated and funded by the state, according to the county officials, who highlighted “key priorities even during what is expected to be a relatively lean 2024-25 fiscal year”:

  • $1.8 million to support the county’s efforts to address homelessness, in addition to state and federal funding received by the county;
  • $32.8 million for infrastructure, including moving many residents and businesses from septic to sewer;
  • Nearly $3 million for economic development;
  • $20 million for parks and community service improvements;
  • Nearly $41 million to assist the sheriff in addressing community public safety concerns; and
  • $1.7 million for human services, including support for foster youth.

“With this year’s budget, the County is investing in important infrastructure projects to revitalize our community. This includes significant funding for fire stations, ensuring our first responders have the facilities they need to serve effectively,” 5th District Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. said in a statement. “We are also funding projects, such as the expansion of the Baker Family Learning Center in Muscoy, upgrades to Kessler Park in Bloomington, various transportation improvements throughout the County of San Bernardino, and increased funding for housing initiatives.”

The entire budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2025, is available at tinyurl.com/em9p4wwb.

Affordable housing for veterans

Also Tuesday, the board authorized $5 million to develop and build in San Bernardino a multifamily housing project for low-income veterans that includes supportive services.

The U.S. VETS — E Street Affordable Housing Development Project will be a 30-unit unit apartment building with three-story walk-up buildings, according to the county. The complex — located on about three quarters of an acre at 1351 N E. Street — will have 21 one-bedroom units, five two-bedroom units, three three-bedroom apartments and one four-bedroom apartment for households with incomes 30%-60% of the area median income.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for a four-person household 30% of the county’s median income in 2023 was $27,950, and 60% of the median totaled $55,920.

The total cost to complete the proposed project is $21.1 million, according to a report by the county’s housing department. The nonprofit U.S. VETS Housing Corp., which is the project developer, has obtained $4.4 million via the state’s Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Program, a $500,000 contribution from the Home Depot Foundation and land donated by the Jewish National Fund valued at $363,000.

The project is associated with the county’s Homeless Initiatives Spending Plan, which the board approved in March 2023 to further the objectives of the 2022 Homeless Strategic Action Plan, according to the report.

The county’s Community Development and Housing Department will oversee the project by doing due diligence activities that include financing the plan review and approval, review of physical site assessments, labor compliance review and title review, officials said.

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