2023-24 Adopted Operational Plan

Executive Summary

Helen N. Robbins-Meyer

Interim Chief Administrative Officer

L. Michael Vu

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer

Board of Supervisors 

Nora Vargas


District One

Joel Anderson


District Two

Terra Lawson-Remer


District Three



District Four

Jim Desmond


District Five

Invested in Community

CAO Adopted Operational Plan Message


The County of San Diego is Invested in Community.

Our new budget, the services we provide, and our work are all built on community input—your input. From community meetings to surveys, to interacting online, we value and use your help to shape the services that all San Diegans rely upon.

The budget is built on the values written in our County General Management System – belonging, equity, access, sustainability, integrity and excellence.

And it addresses issues that are important to us all. Homelessness, building healthy and safe communities, investing in working families, mental health and substance use disorders, sustainability and justice reform.

In sum, it continues to build a just, sustainable and resilient future for all San Diegans. This recommended budget has money to help build affordable housing. And it will increase services and housing to help people, including families, seniors, veterans and the LGBTQIA+ community who are experiencing homelessness.

It increases money and staffing for safety net programs including CalWorks, Calfresh and MediCal. It has increased funding to help people with behavioral health issues, to expand public health and help seniors, children and families. It includes money to increase treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, to address climate change, take environmental action and help foster children.

It continues to invest in an equitable justice system. It dedicates money and staffing to help keep young people out of the criminal justice system through alternatives to incarceration like job training, mental health and substance use treatment, and permanent housing. It has money for drug courts, homeless courts, reentry courts and veteran courts.

The budget also continues to build to improve our communities. It will build “One Safe Place South: The South County Family Justice Center” to match the one opened last year in North County. It will build a new Jacumba Fire Station and a new 52,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Public Health Laboratory.

As I retire this year after 25 years of serving the County of San Diego, this is the last recommended budget that I have the honor to submit. It is one that I am proud to bring to you and our Board of Supervisors. I am confident that this budget and our new generation of County leaders will continue to build a better San Diego. A County and a future that is Invested in Community.


Helen N. Robbins-Meyer

Interim Chief Administrative Officer

Values Shape a Budget

The County of San Diego’s vision is a just, sustainable and resilient future for all supported by these values.


Foster a sense of belonging for County customers and employees.


Promote community engagement in languages, facilities and ways that meet residents’ needs. 


Fight climate change and protect the environment to meet current and future needs.


Reduce disparities in health, housing and economic opportunity.


Ensure exceptional customer service by spending money wisely to build strong communities.


Adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct. 

Budget Equity Assessment Tool

To advance equity, each County department uses a questionnaire to ensure their respective budgets positively impact historically marginalized, vulnerable communities and people.

Equity Lens

Applying an equity lens for all departments

Community Engagement

Strengthen engagement


Utilization of department specific equity data


Ensuring accountability 

Budget Process and Timeline

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) submits a recommended budget to the Board of Supervisors in May. After budget presentations at Board and community meetings, public hearings take place. Throughout the process, the public may give their feedback. A revised budget is prepared. In late June, the Board deliberates and adopts a budget.

May 4

Recommended budget released and
eComment begins

Budget recommended by the Chief Administrative Officer is released to the public.
eComments can be submitted through June 21.

May 11

Budget presentations to the Board of Supervisors

County business groups provide presentations during public Board of Supervisors meetings.

Time: 10 a.m.

May 16

Hybrid community budget meeting

The public is invited to learn about and discuss the recommended budget.

Time: 2-4 p.m.

Virtual and at County Operations Center - Chambers
5520 Overland Ave, San Diego, CA 92123 


May 18

Virtual community budget meeting

The public is invited to learn about and discuss the recommended budget.

Time: 5:30-7 p.m.




June 12
9 a.m.

Public hearing on recommended budget

The public can provide comments during a public Board of Supervisors meeting.


June 15
5:30 p.m.

Public hearing on recommended budget

The public can provide comments during a public Board of Supervisors meeting.


June 21
5 p.m.

Budget hearings formally end

eComments end at 5 p.m.

June 23

Revised recommended budget available to the public

After the recommended budget is submitted to the Board of Supervisors, a change letter suggests proposed additions.

June 27

Budget deliberations and adoption

The Board of Supervisors adopts a budget for Fiscal Year 2023 and tentatively approves a budget for Fiscal Year 2024.

County of San Diego Regional Data

18 Incorporated Cities

Unincorporated Area

Median Household Income

2019: $78,980

2020: $82,426

2021: $88,240


2020: 3,331,279

2021: 3,315,404

2022: 3,287,306


Civilian Labor Force

2019: 1,590,600

2020: 1,538,400

2021: 1,543,700

Median Home Price

Single Family Homes

January 2021: $744,000

January 2022: $882,500

January 2023: $849,000


Attached Homes

January 2021: $485,000

January 2022: $587,500

January 2023: $590,000


Unemployment Rate

2020: 9.2%

2021: 6.5%

2022: 3.4%

2023-24 Adopted Budget

Total Adopted Budget: $8.17 billion

Health and Human Services
$3,197.9M (39.2%)

Land Use and Environment
$674.4M (8.3%)

Public Safety
$2,683.4M (32.9%)

Finance and General  Government
$889.6M (10.9%)

Finance Other
$461.7M (5.7%)

Capital Program
$258.9M (3.2%)

The FY 2023 – 24 CAO Recommended Budget is an increase of $806.4 million or 11% over the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Adopted Budget. This reflects an expanded investment in the County’s workforce to support overall operations, new programs and increasing caseloads for services that assist vulnerable populations.

Total Staffing by Group/Agency

20,387.25 (+539.75 / +2.7%)



(+354 / +4.5%)



(+91.25 / +4.5%)



(+50/ +0.6%)



(+44.50 / +2.3%)

County employees serve the public to ensure residents and visitors are safe, healthy and supported. County job postings are listed on the Human Resources website .    

Invested in Community

Budget Priorities

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder

$66.7 million increase for a total of $737.9 million for contracted services includes:

  • $37.5 million mental health services for adults
  • $10.9 million for crisis diversion services including expanding Mobile    Crisis Response Teams, the Crisis Line, public messaging awareness and crisis community based services
  • $9.5 million for substance use disorder outpatient, withdrawal management, residential and recovery services
  • $8.8 million for 41 long-term beds


  • $18.3 million for implementation of the CARE Act, a new state program for people with serious behavioral health issues that may provide services, shelter and treatment through a civil court proceeding
  • $7.1 million to address opioid addiction

Homelessness and Housing

  • $25 million increase for the Innovative Housing Trust Fund to help build affordable housing
  • $6.6 million increase to support housing activity funded by Permanent Local Housing Allocation and HUD entitlement programs
  • $5.8 million increase to prevent homelessness and provide housing stability for families experiencing homelessness
  • $2.3 million for homeless services/housing for LGBTQIA+ community
  • $1.4 million increase for Compassionate Emergency Housing Solutions like safe parking sites
  • $250,000 increase for the Flexible Housing Pool to support immediate lease-ups
  • 367 new Accessory Dwelling Units to help reduce the cost of building new homes by continuing the County’s ADU fee waiver pilot program

Sustainability and Fighting Climate Change

  • $3.8 million to continue work on an ambitious Regional Decarbonization Framework that will help communities move the region toward zero-carbon emissions
  • Plan to plant 5,000 trees as part of a regional effort to add 10,000 trees throughout the county to naturally remove carbon dioxide from the air and lower temperatures
  • $2.7 million to restore land and improve water quality in the Tijuana River Valley
  • $2.5 million for the design phase of the new Zero Carbon Portfolio Plan for County operations with a goal to reach a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in facilities by 2030
  • To reduce the County footprint and save costs by eliminating the need for a new facility, an office space consolidation plan is underway at the County Operations Center

Justice Reform

  • $10.6 million to protect the public and help justice involved people who have substance use disorders and/or behavioral health issues as they reenter their communities by connecting them with treatment, housing and jobs
  • $12.8 million for court programs to support those with mental health, substance use and other needs, such as Collaborative Courts, Drug Court, Mandatory Supervision Court, Reentry Court, Veterans Court and Behavioral Health Court
  • $5 million to provide free legal representation to people who are detained or in alternative detention settings and are seeking asylum or facing deportation
  • $2 million to keep young people out of the criminal justice system and address underlying causes of their harmful behavior
  • $200,000 to change young lives by giving people in Probation’s Youth Development Academy CAL FIRE training to let them to move toward a career in firefighting
  • Additional staff for detentions inspections by the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, an independent body responsible for investigating complaints against San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and probation officers
  • Additional staff  to implement  the cannabis business tax and the Social Equity Program to address the disproportionate harm caused by the War on Drugs on communities of color
  • Homeless Court Pop-Up Resource Fairs supported by County, City and homeless service agencies to help those at risk of or experiencing homelessness to resolve minor offenses  

Investing in Working Families

  • 354 additional staff years across all Health and Human Services Agency departments to support safety net programs like CalWORKs, CalFresh, and Medi-Cal, and services for behavioral health, public health, seniors, children, and families
  • $141.1 million increase for safety net program benefit payments, higher wages for In-Home Supportive Services caregivers, additional employment services and training for CalWORKS and CalFresh recipients and expanding Info Line 211 Access
  • $18 million increase to support foster youth, increase mental health services for transition age youth and to set up a Prevention Hub to help families avoid the child welfare system and Juvenile Probation
  • $5.2 million of ongoing support for the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs 
  • $3 million increase to support seniors with access to technology and free transportation
  • $6.9 million increase to promote food security and senior nutrition
  • Additional staff for the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement to expand investigative capacity and protect workers from wage theft
  • Additional staff to implement Board Policy B-74, Contracting Standards for Janitorial, Landscaping and Security Services, and enhance employment protections for property services contractors

Healthy and Safe Communities

  • $18 million to build “One Safe Place South: The South County Family Justice Center,” matching the one opened in the North County, to help survivors with restraining orders, safety planning and trauma therapy, and help them get health care, food assistance, shelter and housing
  • $3.9 million to bolster Public Health Infrastructure
  • $37.6 million to build a new Santee Animal Shelter opening in fall 2024
  • $17 million to build a new Jacumba Fire Station to better protect the entire community and region 
  • Protect the public through increased investments in the public health workforce with a total of 259 positions since FY 2021-22
  • 52,000 square foot, new state-of-the-art County Public Health Laboratory 
  • Collect 175 tons of household hazardous waste to keep our neighborhoods and communities safer and healthier