The budget establishes $5.6 billion in appropriations for Riverside County, an increase of 1.7 percent from previous budgeted spending levels. Overall estimated revenue is projected to increase to $5.4 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent. The difference is backed with use of fund balance, net assets, and reserves.
The budget includes $3.3 billion in general fund appropriations, comprising 60 percent of the overall budget. General fund discretionary revenue continues to show modest growth. Estimated discretionary revenue is projected to increase $26.4 million over the current forecast to $781 million. This 4 percent increase is due primarily to modestly rising property-related tax revenues and interest income. Discretionary spending increased to $799.5 million. Of that, an appropriation for general fund contingency is budgeted at $20 million, or 2.5 percent of discretionary revenue.
The gap between discretionary revenue and discretionary spending is covered by departmental reserves and anticipated draw from the reserve for budget stabilization.
To keep discretionary spending within the reserve limits set by the Board, the Executive Office implemented targeted net county cost cuts by approximately 4 percent to achieve the $10 million in savings. Departments achieved these cuts largely through a combination of draws on departmental reserves and deletion of primarily vacant positions. Overall, this budget includes deletion of 780 currently authorized positions, a reduction of 3 percent from the authorized level as of July 2017.
Overall, the budget contains $5.6 billion in total appropriations across all funds, a 1.7 percent net increase of $93 million from the previously budgeted levels. Broken out by function, the largest sector of overall county appropriations is $1.7 billion for public protection at 30 percent, reflecting a 2.5 percent increase, followed closely by $1.5 billion for health and sanitation at 27 percent, reflecting an increase of 3.2 percent, and $1.1 billion for public assistance at 20 percent, reflecting a decrease of 1.2 percent. These three functions comprise 77 percent of total appropriations. General government comprises only 15 percent of all appropriations at $822 million, a net decrease of 1.4 percent, while all others combined comprise only 4 percent.
Broken out by spending category, 40 percent of overall appropriations are for salaries and benefits, with 28 percent for services and supplies, and 24 percent for other charges, such as public aid and debt service. Just 4 percent of overall appropriations are for acquisition of fixed assets, and 0.3 percent of the overall budget is set aside for general fund contingency.
The county uses Budget Schedule 20 to amend the authorized position levels in Ordinance No. 440 in conjunction with annual appropriations. The budget authorizes a total of 24,591 positions, a 3 percent net decrease of 780 positions from the level authorized as of May 2018. This net reduction is principally due to departments shedding vacant positions as expected in response to funding cutbacks. Additional summary analyses are provided below. Further details regarding requested and adopted position authorization are summarized in the departmental narratives, and provided by budget unit and job classification in Schedule 20.
As of May 2018, 19,479 regular, full-time positions were filled and 5,892 were vacant. On a percentage basis, 77 percent of regular positions authorized were filled, and 23 percent remained vacant, a decrease in vacancy of 1 percent from the previous year. Of those vacant, 37 percent are in public protection, 29 percent in health and sanitation, 22 percent are in public assistance, and, while only 10 percent are in general government. Vacant positions may not need funding for a full fiscal year, if at all.
The budget includes $5.4 billion in estimated revenues across all funds, a 3.3 percent net increase of $170 million from the prior budget estimates. By function, general government is projected to collect $1.5 billion, or 29 percent of estimated revenues, an increase of 3.1 percent. It should be noted that general government departments are responsible for collecting the bulk of the county’s general-purpose revenue, which causes the amount of revenue attributed to that functional group to be disproportionate to their appropriations, which are minor by comparison. Such revenues include property taxes, sales and use taxes, and public safety sales tax. Health and sanitation is projected to collect $1.3 billion, or 25 percent of the total, for a net increase of 3.9 percent, public protection is projected to collect $1.1 billion, or 20 percent, a net increase of 3.2 percent, and public assistance is projected to receive $1.1 billion, or 20 percent, a net increase of just 0.1 percent. The other functional areas together comprise only 6 percent of all estimated revenue.
Of total revenues across all funds, 49 percent is intergovernmental state and federal revenues, charges for current services comprise 31 percent, and taxes comprise only 8 percent. Minor revenue sources comprising 4 percent of the balance include licenses, permits and franchises; use of money and property; and fines, penalties, and forfeitures projected.
The county general fund is the principal operational fund, comprising 58 percent of total appropriations. The budget includes $3.3 billion in general fund appropriations, an overall 3.0 percent increase of $94.4 million from the current budget. Public protection accounts for the largest portion, totaling $1.4 billion, or 44 percent, reflecting a spending increase of 2.2 percent. A total of $1 billion, or 30 percent, is for public assistance programs, which is up 0.5 percent, and another $679 million, or 21 percent, supports health and sanitation services, reflecting a net increase of 8.2 percent. General government services account for only 5 percent, at just over $161 million, a net increase of 1.9 percent.
Broken out by spending category, 48 percent of general fund appropriations are for salaries and benefits, with 24 percent for other charges, such as public aid and debt service and 23 percent for services and supplies. Just 0.2 percent of general fund appropriations are for acquisition of fixed assets, and 1 percent of the general fund budget is set aside for contingencies.
The budget projects $3.3 billion in estimated general fund revenue, a 4.3 percent net increase of $137 million. By function, public assistance is projected to receive $958 million, or 29 percent of general fund revenue, a net revenue increase of 1.0 percent. Public protection is projected to collect $897 million, or 27 percent, a net revenue increase of
3.5 percent. General government is projected to collect $853 million, or 26 percent of estimated general fund revenues. As noted above, general government departments are responsible for collecting the bulk of the county’s general purpose revenue, causing the amount of revenue attributed to that functional group to be disproportionate to their appropriations. Such revenues include property taxes, sales and use taxes, and public safety sales tax. Health and sanitation is projected to collect $598 million, or 18 percent of general fund revenue, reflecting a net revenue increase of 10 percent. The other functional areas together comprise only 0.3 percent of all estimated general fund revenues.
Broken out by revenue category, $2.1 billion, or 65 percent, of estimated general fund revenue is from the state or federal governments, a net 3.9 percent revenue increase of $80 million. Charges for current services, such as fire and police services to contract cities, comprise $596 million or 18 percent, a net revenue increase of 4.3 percent. Taxes comprise $313 million, or 9 percent, a net increase of 4.2 percent over current estimates. All other revenues comprise just 8 percent of the general fund total.
Overall, county spending is dominated by mandated core functions such as health, welfare, and criminal justice, which are heavily supported by purpose-restricted state and federal subventions. While having fiduciary responsibility for oversight of the entire county budget, the Board of Supervisors has discretionary spending authority over a limited amount of the county's overall financial resources.
The Board alone decides how general fund general-purpose revenue will be spent. Only 24 percent, or $781 million, of the county’s estimated general fund revenue is general- purpose, with the remaining 76 percent comprised of purpose-restricted sources such as state and federal revenues. General- purpose revenues are estimated in part on internal projections based on revenue history, and on reports from independent economists
hired by the county to provide economic forecasts.
Property tax revenue comprises 47 percent of the county’s general purpose revenue, and is estimated at
$370.1 million, including $111.7 million in redevelopment tax increment pass-through revenue. As property values increase, this revenue increases. Property tax estimates assume 5 percent growth in assessed valuation.
Motor vehicle in-lieu revenue is estimated at $255.8
million, and represents about 33 percent of the
county’s discretionary revenue. When the state
converted this revenue source to property tax
revenue, it became tied to changes in assessed
valuation. In essence, although tracked separately, it
is now just another component of property tax
revenue. When combined with traditional property
taxes, property-driven revenue equates to 79 percent
of the county’s general purpose revenue.
Sales and use taxes are estimated at $29.1 million and
represent about 4 percent of the county’s
discretionary revenue. The county lost a significant
share of sales tax to incorporations in FY 09/10. This
was partially offset briefly from FY 12/13 to FY 15/16
while major solar projects were under construction.
Since completion of these projects, the trend has
normalized at just under 1 percent growth.
In 1993, the county adopted the Teeter Plan to secure
participating taxing entities’ property tax
apportionments against delinquencies. Debt service
on the Teeter financing is paid off as delinquent
properties are redeemed. State law requires a tax loss
reserve fund with a balance equal to 1 percent of the
Teeter roll. Any delinquent collections exceeding the
1 percent, called the Teeter overflow, may be
transferred to the general fund. As local housing and
employment markets continue to strengthen,
property tax delinquency rates continue to decline,
this will continue to erode this revenue in future years.
Due to declining delinquency rates, the
The Treasurer’s estimates for interest earnings
include several factors: general fund balances in the
Treasurer’s pooled investment fund, current interest
rates, and the continuation of accommodative U.S.
Federal Reserve monetary policy. This positively
impacts interest earned by investors such as the
Treasurer’s pooled investment fund. Due to recent
activity by the Federal Reserve, the County Treasurer
expects short-term rates to move incrementally
higher in the future. The Treasurer projects interest
earnings at $18 million, a 58 percent increase of $6.6
Court fines and penalties are estimated to increase 5
percent to $19.2 million. Representing 2 percent of
the county’s discretionary revenue, fines and penalties
are tied to funding the county’s obligation to the trial
courts, and subject to state maintenance-of-effort
requirements. The county continues to shift fines and
fees resulting from trial court reform to the state.
Documentary transfer tax revenue is generated by
recordation of transfers of real property ownership
and is up 5 percent to $15.2 million.
Franchise fee revenue is collected as part of franchise
agreements executed between the county and utility,
waste, and cable franchisees. Franchise revenues are
typically calculated as a percentage of the franchise
revenue from services and sales to customers within
the county. Franchise revenue is estimated to decline
again 4 percent to $6.9 million. Previously, cable
franchise fees were administered by the Clerk of the
Board and applied to their budget as departmental
revenue. However, since cable franchise fees are
declining due to increased obsolescence, this revenue
was realigned to discretionary revenue to stabilize the
Clerk of the Board’s budget. Franchise revenues
tracked here do not include franchise revenue from
solar power plant projects, which are deposited to a
separate fund per Board policy.
In 1998, when the master tobacco litigation
settlement was finalized, tobacco companies agreed
to pay for causing tobacco-related problems across
the nation. California cities and counties entered into
an agreement with the state establishing allocation of
the proceeds. In 2007, the county sold a portion of its
tobacco-settlement income to generate a one-time
lump-sum amount, reducing the annual payment to
$10 million per year, which the general fund
contributes to the county medical center to use for
debt service payments.
A small portion of the general fund revenue received
from federal and state sources is unrestricted and
available for discretionary use. Miscellaneous revenue
includes other revenue not readily classified in other
In FY 16/17, the reserves for disaster relief and
economic uncertainty were consolidated into a single
reserve for budget stabilization. In line with prudent
practices for building structurally balanced budgets,
projections assume no unassigned fund balance will
carry over for use in ongoing operations. Due to a
projected general fund operating deficit, the budget
anticipates release of $18.5 million from the reserve for
The discretionary general fund portion of the budget
includes $799.5 million in net county cost allocations.
These net cost allocations included 4 percent targeted
cuts to scale. The tables below list the net county cost
allocations summarized by functional area and
department within the general fund, with the
breakout following of individual contributions to
other county funds and outside agencies with which
the county has obligations.
The budget was developed with the following Boardapproved
strategic objectives in mind.
In 2017, the county established the County
Performance Unit (CPU), to strengthen performance
assessment and accountability through objectives
andmetrics. More specifically, it was established to
provide advisory and analytic support to the
Executive Office across the areas of policy, strategy,
performance, and finance to create a performancedriven,
The CPU designed a Performance Accountability
Review (PAR) process,which involved identifying
and tracking key performance indicators (KPI). The
CPU will facilitate monitoring and reporting on-going
strategic transformation initiatives, and guide
continual improvement.This process included
creation of a Strategic Alignment Framework (SAF)
to ensure all levels of the county are marching in the
The Strategic Alignment Framework is composed of
three tiers (County, Portfolio, and Department), and
provides a network of KPIs to assess progress towards
desired strategic outcomes. The framework
acknowledges interconnected roles in achieving
countywide outcomes. Each tier has a unique set of
objectives and KPIs that align to the level above. To
reinforce this strategic alignment and performance
management mindset, the budget leverages this
framework as the basis for the departmental
objectives and performance measures contained in the
To gain performance visibility and acountability,
many organizations suffer “death by metrics,”
overwhelming themselves with too much data. While
it is important to measure, not all measures are
Therefore, the CPU collaborated with each portfolio
to identify only the true “vital signs” that illustrate
whether they are meeting their strategic objectives
and moving the county toward achieving its strategic
outcomes. These vital signs are the first indication
that something may be “off” and requiring further root
cause analysis by evaluating underlying metrics.
Carefully selected KPIs help steer an organization
towards a specified outcome. Distinguishing between
KPIs and supporting metrics is helpful in enabling
true strategic management and focusing executivelevel
discussion. Measuring outcomes achieved is a
major departure from past practice, so this is a big step
forward for all county departments.
The Executive Office focuses multi-year fiscal
planning on fiscally sustainable operations that
support the county’s long-term strategic vision.
These financial objectives include:
Achieving a structurally balanced budget in which
ongoing expenditures do not exceed ongoing
Achieving and maintaining prudent reserves and
Limiting use of one-time resources only to onetime
expenditures and rebuilding reserves.
Several factors constrain the county’s strategic
Assessed valuation, the basis for property tax and
motor vehicle in-lieu, is assumed to grow by 5 percent
during the budget year. Optimistically foreseeing
continued near-term economic strength, but
prudently cautious about the potential for out-year
downturn, the Executive Office is now assuming a
more graduated cooling to valuation growth that
steps down to 3 percent over the next few years.
Based on softening growth in taxable sales, assumed
sales and use tax and Prop. 172 public safety sales tax
estimates remain tempered. However, due to recent
actions by the Federal Reserve, the Treasurer’s
interest earnings forecast is up substantially. Overall,
general-purpose revenue growth is estimated rise 4
percent over the next several years. Unfortunately,
revenue growth at this rate will continue to be
substantially outpaced by increasing costs.
Provisions of past labor agreements and steeply rising
pension obligations continue to increase costs for
salaries and benefits across departments.
Phased opening of the new detention center continues
to factor substantially into long-term operational
planning. The Sheriff’s Corrections budget is
increased $7.4 million to address partial year funding
for the first phase of operations anticipated to occur
in FY 18/19. An additional $12 million for the second
phase is currently factored into the multi-year
forecast for FY 19/20, $9 million in FY 20/21, and
another $15 million in FY 21/22. However, discussions
with the Sheriff’s Department are ongoing, with the
potential to more gradually ramp up to full operations
over a longer period. This single factor will influence
most the continued duration of deficit spending and
the point at which reserves will be replenished and
revenue growth can be focused more fully on ongoing
The county continues working diligently to meet the
settlement terms of a federal suit filed on behalf of
inmates in the county’s jails. Not part of the
settlement terms per se, but triggered by it, are costs
to provide security for these added health care
workers and their patients. The budget provides an
additional $7.6 million to Sheriff Corrections to
further address staffing costs associated with
satisfying the settlement.
In January 2017, the Governor proposed shifting back
to counties a significant share of In-Home Supportive
Services costs. Based on increased county workload,
cost estimates were expected to severely impact
county budgets. Fortunately, 1991 realignment
growth was sufficient to cover the majority of
increased costs in FY 17/18. Further, the Governor is
reporting in the May 2018 Revise that projected 1991
realignment revenues are anticipated to continue
offsetting fiscal impact to counties through FY
19/20. Although revenue projections are favorable, the
potential impact of out-year costs remain unclear due
to continued program growth and a revenue stream
directly linked to Sales Tax revenue.
During the downturn, the county held self-insurance
rates low to lighten the burden on departments.
However, due to high claim levels in general liability
and workers compensation, it was necessary to raise
those rates to cover claims and higher reinsurance
premiums. Departments have been asked to absorb
increases in these costs, the charges for which
correlate directly each department’s claims and
While most internal service rates were held flat, the
distribution of costs for certain internal services has
been restructured to more accurately reflect actual
usage of those services. This may result in higher
charges for some departments, depending on their
service usage. These cost increases should be
recoverable through claiming and contract rates in
most circumstances, although some departments are
not able to recover these costs.
The Executive Office prepares multi-year discretionary funding forecasts to set the context for major policy decisions
of an ongoing nature. This multi-year approach enables the long-range planning and fiscal discipline necessary to
achieve and maintain a structurally balanced budget with adequate reserves (Board policy sets the reserve request
FY 2018 - 2019 Adopted Budget
FY 2018 - 2019 Recommended Budget
FY 2017 - 2018 Adopted Budget Volume1
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FY 2017 - 2018 Adopted Budget
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FY 2017 - 2018 First Quarter Budget Report
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FY 2016 - 2017 Adopted Budget
FY 2016 - 2017 First Quarter Budget Report
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FY 2016 - 2017 Third Quarter Budget Report
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FY2011 - 2012
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FY 2010 - 2011 Adopted Budget
2009-2010 Final Budget
FY2008 - 2009
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)
Compliance Analysis and Investment Report
Statement of Investment Policy
FY 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR)
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