LA County Board of Supervisors could have a majority of women. Photo by John Schreiber.
LA County Board of Supervisors. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Monday approved a $28.7 billion budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, funding services ranging from housing the homeless and protecting vulnerable children to building new jails and enforcing a new minimum wage ordinance.

“This balanced budget, while providing essential funding for services across the county, aggressively supports the board’s agenda for transformative change in four key areas — homelessness, child protection, Sheriff’s Department reforms and the integration of our county health agencies,” county Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai said.

“There are always competing demands for county dollars, and I believe this budget honors not only the board’s longstanding commitment to fiscal responsibility but also to lifting the quality of life for all our residents.”

Increased property and sales tax revenue have put the county in a position to add more than 900 new employees. Four hundred new positions have been opened in the Department of Children and Family Services in an attempt to reduce social worker caseloads and more than 120 other spots will support services for residents with mental illnesses.

Twelve new employees are expected to be hired by the coroner’s office to address backlogs.

Amendments to the budget included an increase in spending on the Parks After Dark program, aimed at keeping teenagers off the streets and out of gangs.

More money also will be available for residents who might be able to reduce felony drug convictions to misdemeanors under Proposition 47.

Supervisor Hilda Solis applauded a plan to add more positions to the Sheriff’s Department, beefing up patrols in unincorporated areas.

Solis, who represents the First District, also introduced a motion today to formally establish environmental monitoring as one of the county’s five highest priorities, in the wake of the Aliso Canyon gas leak in Porter Ranch, contamination wrought by the Exide and Quemetco battery recycling plants, and the metals recycling facility that burned to the ground in Maywood. The motion passed unanimously.

–City News Service

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