Change Is Upon Us: New County Budget Helps Rancho Santa Fe Prepare

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Terra Lawson-Remer is our region’s new County Supervisor.

If you told me three years ago I would spend weeks on end isolated at home, gas would cost $6 a gallon, I’d be watching a war in Europe, and our region’s beautiful coastal cliffs were beginning to crumble, I wouldn’t have believed you.

But the reality is that our world has changed — and this change is being thrust upon us from all directions. With the right planning and investments we can weather that change — and create a stronger, more resilient San Diego County.

This was my goal when I voted last month to approve the County of San Diego’s new $7.35 billion dollar budget. It’s a resiliency budget — an investment plan to make sure that San Diego is ready not only to respond to the change we’re experiencing but to enact the change we need. It furthers the work we’ve done, and continue to do, to make County government more equitable, sustainable, responsive, and representative of our communities.

As we feel the heat from rising temperatures, this budget invests $100 million to fight climate change, expand County parks and community gardens, acquire land for the preservation of natural habitats, plant trees, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and set up “cool zones” around our region for you to enjoy air conditioning for free.

As we grow more concerned about sewage in our oceans, this budget invests $40 million in improving our stormwater infrastructure to keep pollution from our cities from flowing onto our beaches.

As we see people struggling on the street, perhaps talking to themselves, this budget pays for new Mobile Crisis Response Teams staffed with trained psychiatric clinicians to respond quickly – allowing our sheriffs and police officers to focus on fighting crime.

As we are squeezed by inflation and need a little extra help to make ends meet, this budget will fund new resources to help residents access food and healthcare through programs like CalFresh and Medi-Cal.

As we witness wildfires more frequently threaten our homes, this budget bolsters our firefighting fleet with a new dual-engine helicopter with the ability to fly at night and carry more water and emergency responders. But we’re not waiting for danger to arrive at our doorsteps — we’re also investing $2 million to reduce the risk of wildfire through vegetation management, improved evacuation routes, and fire breaks.

And as we venture out more to reconnect with our neighbors, you can experience the millions of dollars in funding set aside in this budget to support vital programs, such as $70,000 to construct improvements on Artesian Way adjacent to the Lusardi Creek Preserve, $2 million for improvements at Sage Hill Open Space Preserve, and $2.16 million to design a staging area to improve the visitor experience at the Sage Hill Open Space Preserve. In addition, it funds $4.4 million in infrastructure investments in the district, including improvements to roads such as Calzada Del Bosque, Del Dios Highway, Elfin Forest Road, La Bajada, Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe Road, and Via De La Valle. It also pays for County library programming, including providing library cards to first and second graders, bibliography instructions to all seventh and eighth grade classes, and a return of adult programs such as fitness classes, book clubs, author talks and lectures.

We are a resilient region — and this budget reflects that spirit. We can’t always control what comes our way. But we will continue to work hard locally to be prepared for winds of change, no matter where they come from, so we can chart a better future for us all.

In service,

Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer