A Message from the Interim Chief Administrative Officer, Sarah E. Aghassi

San Diego County is a region with nearly 3.3 million people. There is a lot to love about this place we call home.

Nearly the geographic size of Connecticut, our county is a destination spot for almost 32 million visitors a year. It’s home to wonderfully diverse residents who live, work and recreate in a place that includes beaches, mountains, desert and some of the rarest and most unique environmental habitats in the nation.

Our organization is responsible for providing many services to support the entire region – things like food and restaurant inspections, beach and bay water-quality testing, elections, social services, public health programs, foster care, adult protective services and more.

In our unincorporated communities, we provide all of those things as well as city-type services, from fire protection and maintaining roads and flood control districts to libraries, parks, law enforcement and land use decision-making that shapes our communities for generations to come. The communities within the unincorporated area make up a good portion of the region. In fact, if the unincorporated area were a city, it would be the second largest in our region by population and larger geographically than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.So it’s not a surprise that our County budget—$8.48 billion—and the role it plays in the lives of everyone who lives and visits here, is also significant.

We build our budget on our core values—belonging, equity, access, sustainability, integrity and excellence.

And we could not do it without your help; from meeting you in our communities, collecting your thoughts in surveys and getting together with you online, we know you are our best partners in moving the region forward.

Because of our work together, this is a budget that not only provides the essential services that we all rely on; it also strives to make a difference in areas that increasingly affect our community.

Housing is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and we are working to significantly reduce homelessness and create affordability for all income levels. This new budget includes investments in resources for people experiencing homelessness to provide access to shelter, housing and services, as well as $30 million for resources to encourage housing affordability and remove barriers to housing production.

You’ll also see our budget continues to invest in safety-net programs that help more than 1 million vulnerable residents – ensuring access to programs like CalFresh and Medi-Cal – to make sure people have the food, health services and financial support they need.

The County is dedicated to sustainability and reducing the impacts of climate change, investing in watershed protection, adding public electric vehicle charging stations, and planting thousands of trees while also reflecting that commitment in our own operations with a plan to reduce carbon emissions in County facilities by 90% by 2030.

Additionally, this budget will maintain its investment in the County of San Diego’s team, the workforce that is proud to serve you, a team that is the heart and soul of all we do, a team that wants to make a difference.

There is much more to explore in the recommended budget and more to learn about the investments being made in this region we are so proud to call home. I invite you to look through our open budget website. Together, we are building a better region – a place we not only call home, but one where every one of us can truly be at home.

Sarah Aghassi

Interim Chief Administrative Officer