Welcome to the County of San Diego's Budget website!

The Operational Plan provides the County's financial plan for the next two fiscal years (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2022).  The Operational Plan document identifies the major accomplishments achieved during the past year, discusses strategic objectives for the next two years,details planned expenditures over the next two years, and projects the resources that will be used to finance these activities. 


Helen Robbins-Meyer

Chief Administrative Officer
Helen N. Robbins-Meyer

Transformation for Unprecedented Times

We head into a new fiscal year facing unprecedented challenges. We continue to grapple with the local impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. With no vaccine, and a surge in new cases, the focus continues to be on protecting the physical and economic health of our residents.

Shutdowns aimed at fighting the virus created enormous shockwaves through the economy, the extent of the fiscal reverberations still unknown. But revenue projections have dropped significantly at a time when unemployment and service needs are escalating.

A reckoning with racism demands an examination of our institutions, our policies, our programs and how we engage and serve our residents.

The world, the nation and our county are in the midst of transformation. Our operations and our budget must transform as well. As you digest this $6.55 billion budget, you will see the complexity of allocating resources to the vast array of services needed across our region. We touch the lives of all San Diegans, and therefore it's more essential than ever that we align our direction with the community's diverse needs.

The County has long had a strategy to financially prepare for unforeseen events. That past fiscal stability is helping us to maneuver through these unprecedented times, allowing us to maintain critical services. But even that careful planning has its limits, and our ability to continue all services at current levels can't be sustained indefinitely. To stay balanced, the adopted budget will dip into reserves for the next two years to allow time to make long-term adjustments without creating additional economic stress for the region. Accordingly, you won't see many new things in this budget. You will see reductions in capital investments, streamlining of administrative functions and elimination of some vacant staff positions. Significant fiscal increases in the Health and Human Services Agency are largely driven by costs for COVID-19 response efforts, including the Testing, Tracing, and Treatment Strategy (T3) funded by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act revenue.

Our COVID-19 efforts, and careful spending of CARES Act funding, will remain a dominant feature of County activity, as we work to protect our residents' health and prevent the region's medical systems from being overwhelmed. However, the County will also keep building on its commitment to assist vulnerable populations. Additional housing and homelessness efforts will be addressed through social services and emergency assistance tied to COVID-19 funding. And we'll build out the regional continuum of care, focusing on diversionary services such as Crisis Stabilization Units and Mobile Crisis Response Teams to provide early intervention so that we avoid inundating our public safety partners and instead provide proper treatment for those needing behavioral health care. Funding has also been set aside for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, landlord/tenant counseling services, COVID-19 T3 activities for K-12 schools, income replacement stipends, Internet access for families with children in distance learning, and to help the homeless at the San Diego Convention Center continue receiving on-site care after they move to new housing accommodations. We will also address critical road infrastructure needs such as guardrails and traffic signals, while providing permit fee waivers for clean energy projects and providing the resources for enhanced air quality monitoring activities.

Public Safety Group continues to work toward transforming juvenile justice with investment in future designs for the Juvenile Justice Campus in Kearny Mesa and support for the District Attorney's Juvenile Diversion initiative, as well as investment in the North County Family Justice Center. Widespread protests have served to elevate the need for education and change regionwide. Increases in the Finance and General Government Group are mostly due to the transfer of Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) from Public Safety Group and the increase in investigations of incidents involving peace officers and custodial officers employed by the Sheriff's Department and the Probation Department. $5 million in funding has been identified in the Chief Administrative Office budget to establish and launch the new Office of Equity and Racial Justice. This new office will have significant engagement with the community to develop the mission, goals and new practices for the initiative. The pandemic also underlined the need to get County information out to residents in their first language and this year, $2.5 million in funding will go toward translation services.

In closing, the year ahead will be filled with many challenges. Our agenda for the coming year is ambitious, with a $299 million, or 4.8%, increase in spending from the previous year, driven by CARES Act funding. Negotiated salary and benefit increases are included and the County will be dipping into its one-time reserves for $277.3 million to help fill revenue gaps due to the economic downturn, including $138.8 million this year and $138.5 million for 2021-22. Since this plan calls for a temporary draw below our minimum reserve levels, we have included a plan to restore those levels within several years. This prudent use of reserves for these unprecedented times will provide us the opportunity to establish a new financial base balanced to meet a sustained multiyear economic downturn with the increase in needed services. We look forward to meeting these challenges with an open mind and enthusiastic energy as we enter a new future in partnership with the people we serve.

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FY 2020-21 Budget Video



Formal adoption of the Operational Plan was made on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 2 p.m.

Adopted Operational Plan

San Diego County Adopts New Budget

Aug. 26, 2020 | 12:32 PM

The County Board of Supervisors adopted a $6.5 billion revised budget for fiscal year 2020-21 after public deliberations on Tuesday.  The adopted budget addresses the unexpected COVID-19 and economic crises, and also reflects calls for social justice and racial equality.  A $6.4 billion recommended budget was presented to the Board on Aug. 10 and called for an increase of $159 million or 2.5% over last year and $100 million to fight the COVID-19 public health crisis.  Supervisors approved additional spending on Tuesday, adding $140.1 million to the budget.

Pandemic, Economic Crises Impact New County Budget

Jul. 20, 2020 | 12:29 PM

COVID-19, the economic crisis and worldwide calls for social justice and racial equality – events impacting nearly every one of us are also transforming the County’s new budget.  The recommended $6.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2020-21 was released Monday, July 20.  The total shows an increase of $159 million or 2.5% over last year and includes $100 million to fight the COVID-19 public health crisis. The recommended budget also calls for dipping into the County’s reserves.  



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2019-20 Op Plan cover

County of San Diego CAO Recommended Operational Plan
A comprehensive overview of the CAO's recommended financial plan for the County's operations for the next two fiscal years.

2019-20 Op Plan cover

County of San Diego CAO Recommended Operational Plan Change Letter
Proposed changes to the CAO Recommended Operational Plan submitted by the CAO and/or members of the Board of Supervisors. The CAO Change Letter updates the Recommended Operational Plan with information that becomes available after the latter document is published.

2019-20 Op Plan cover

County of San Diego Adopted Operational Plan
The Board of Supervisors' two-year financial plan that allocates resources to specific programs and services that support the County's long-term goals; it includes the adopted budget for the first year and a tentative budget that is approved in principle for the second year.