Board puts county in strong position to face economic risks

San Bernardino County’s decades-long tradition of conservative and cautious spending will serve county residents well during what could be a 2024-25 budget season fraught with risk and uncertainty at the state and national levels.

That was the message county Chief Executive Officer Luther Snoke and Chief Financial Officer Matthew Erickson delivered to the Board of Supervisors during the annual county financial update, which sets the table for the May 7 budget workshop and the June 22 budget hearing. The recommended budget is scheduled for release on May 21.

Data presented to the board on Tuesday shows inflation in the Inland Empire has nearly returned to its January 2021 rate of 2.2 percent after peaking at 10 percent one year ago. The Federal Reserve responded to the spike in inflation by raising interest rates. Erickson advised the board that the longer interest rates stay high, there could be impacts to county revenues though stunted home sales and consumer spending.

Other risks include a state budget deficit of $38 billion to $73 billion, possible federal government shutdown, a recession if interest rates remain high, and unforeseen natural disasters or other emergencies.

However, the Board of Supervisors has been prudent in preparing for any fiscal rainy day by taking a slow and measured approach to budgeting volatile tax revenues and strategically investing ongoing funding in reserves and one-time capital needs.

In the upcoming fiscal year, the County is planning to continue its conservative approach by assuming 3% property tax growth despite average annual assessed valuation growth of 6.6% over the past 10 years.  The county also expects $44.5 million in ongoing retirement cost savings, largely due to its pension obligation bond payoff this past year.

“This board over a long period of time has been fiscally conservative in our projections,” said Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman. “When we had upticks in revenues we didn’t go off and spend it the way the state and federal government does, spending everything they have every year and then suddenly not having it and finding they have problems. We have been trying to put money aside to last long past our service time to provide steady services to our residents.”

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Conductor of Oscar-winning score honored

The Board of Supervisors recognized a rare connection between San Bernardino County and the Academy Awards by honoring San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra Music Director Anthony Parnther for conducting the Oscar-winning score for the film “Oppenheimer,” which also won the award for Best Picture among many other accolades.

Parnther is the music director and conductor of both the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and the Southeast Symphony & Chorus in Los Angeles. He has conducted artists spanning every musical genre. Recent guest conducting engagements span from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Chineke! Orchestra, Simfonica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Jacaranda-Music at the Edge, Hear Now Music Festival, Pittsburgh Microtonal Festival, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, BrightworkNewMusic, and the World Opera Forum in Madrid.

Parnther is a prolific conductor of scoring sessions for motion picture, television, album, and video game scores with the Hollywood Studio Symphony.

He has led the recording sessions for such projects as “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett,” “Nope,” “Creed III,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Fargo,” and “Oppenheimer,” among others.


Additional County Update News – March 28, 2024

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