The Riverside County 2021-22 Budget totals $6.9 billion in appropriations. This is slightly larger than the 2020-21 budget. The county is projecting a $232 million dollar transfer in from the funds not spent in the 2020-21 budget. This will vary depending on the COVID-19 Relief Funding which can be kept based on how the resources can be budgeted. It is important to note that the Executive Office built the FY 21/22 budget without relying heavily on COVID-19 federal relief funding so some of those resources may be available to the county as well. Riverside County ’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding is $479 million. None of these funds have been included in the FY 21/22 budget either.  The budget remains very similar to the prior budgets and will likely reflect little difference from the past budgets where the bulk of the county’s resources are consumed by the Public Safety category and the critical needs of housing and health care are left to compete for limited state and federal resources. The County Executive Officer reports that the major differences from the prior overall budget are: 

  • The increase in Public protection of $94.9 million due to increases in salaries and employee benefits of $69.4 million and service and supplies of $28.0 million. The increases in salaries and employee benefits were noted in the Sheriff and District Attorney Departments to pay for the hiring of new employees, pay for overtime salaries, and pay for pension benefits. The expenditure increases in services and supplies were mainly incurred to combat COVID-19 related costs.
  • The increase in Health and sanitation of $69.0 million attributed to a $7.0 million increase in salaries and employee benefit costs, $9.5 million increase in intergovernmental activity and $47.9 million in other charges of which $35.8 million related to mental health treatment expenditures.
  • The increase in Public assistance of $75.5 million due to a $16.7 million increase in salaries and employee benefit costs, $58.5 million increase in other charges of which $55.7 million related to mandated public services that were provided through DPSS.
  • The increase in Other expenditures of $24.2 million was due to an increase of approximately $3.8 million in interest on long-term debt as the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANS) carried a higher interest rate. Additionally, an increase of approximately $18.1 million in capital outlay related to the purchase of a helicopter by the Sheriff Department.
  • The increase in Other financing uses of $25.8 million was mainly due to contributions of $13.3 million for construction cost of capital projects, $11.2 million for financing debt service payments according to the debt service schedules for the various outstanding bonds of the County, and $2.1 million to fund increases in pension obligations.



General Fund

The county general fund is the principal operational fund, comprising 57.6 percent of total budget. The budget includes $4 billion in general fund appropriations, an overall 4.3 percent increase of $164.6 million from the current budget. The Public Safety category accounts for the largest portion of the General Fund, again. Public Safety consumes $1.6 billion, or 39.5 percent of the county’s funds. This budget increases the Public Safety budget 4.7 percent. Human Services total $1.3 billion, or 31.7 percent of the county’s General Fund. Human Services is increased by 4.9 percent in this budget.

Human Services

The Human Services category includes the Office on Aging , Veteran Services, the Child Support Services Department Housing, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Solutions, In Home Support Serves, Children and Families First Commission, and the Department of Social Services. .

Department of Public Social Services

The Department of Social Services administers the federal and state funded programs such as  Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWORKs and General Assistance.  The department also manages the Adult Protective Services program, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program and the Children’s Services Division. They also manage Faith in Motion, First 5 Riverside, Public Health, Behavioral Health, the Family Resource Centers and the HOPE Collaborative. The department is receiving $39.4 million more in federal revenue for Child Welfare Services, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, and Foster Care, and Adoptions Assistance.  State revenue is also increasing $17.4 million for WTW, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, IHSS, Foster Care, and Adoptions Assistance. Riverside County is increasing their contribution by $10 million in net county cost to increase staffing and comply with a lawsuit requiring them to fund General Assistance. 

Housing, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Solutions (HHPWS) 

The Housing, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Solutions is intended to manage Housing, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Solutions the Continuum of Care and Housing Authority  divisions with a staff of four people. For comparison, the Sheriff’s Department has a staff of 4,970 people. HHPWS works with the Continuum of Care whose mission is to enhance the economic position of the county and its residents, improve the quality of life, encourage business growth, build a positive business climate, develop a trained workforce, improve existing communities and offer a variety of housing opportunities. Reading the mission statement may not make it clear that the Continuum of Care coordinates housing services funding for homeless families and individuals with a network of more than 140 private and public sector organizations and homeless service providers. The CoC has a staff of 25 people and a budget of $53,635,862 almost entirely funded by the state and federal government. For comparison, the Sheriff’s Department has a budget of  $892,484,698 almost entirely funded by the county. 

The Housing Authority

The Housing Authority administers the county’s federally funded Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), which includes both tenant based vouchers and project based vouchers, Moderate Rehabilitation Program, and Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing Program. The purpose of these programs are to combat homelessness, provide decent and safe housing, expand the supply of affordable housing, increase homeownership opportunities for low to moderate income households and to oversee the wind down of the former Redevelopment Agencies for the County of Riverside and City of Coachella.  As of Sep 22, 2020,  “the Housing Authority maintains an inventory of 469 public housing units, 17 revenue bond-financed rental housing units, and 77 Farm Worker apartment units. The HACR also administers approximately 8,522 Tenant-Based Section 8 Vouchers. 80 Project-Based Section 8 Vouchers, 93 Shelter-Plus Care Vouchers, 90 Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) units, 473 Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) participants, and 30 Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Vouchers.” (Riverside Country's HOPWA website). The housing authority website reports that there are currently 68,000 families on the waiting list for Housing Choice vouchers (Section 8). The extremely rapid increase in housing costs and rents in the inland region and stagnant wages makes many many more than 68,000 people eligible for Section 8 in the county. “Median rent in Riverside County has increased 32 percent since 2000, while median renter household income has decreased three percent when adjusted for inflation.” (pg 150, 2021-2022 Riverside County Budget) The resources budgeted by the county to address the housing crisis (almost all state and federal money) is $15,563,732. For comparison, the Sheriff’s Department has a budget of  $892,484,698 almost entirely funded by the county.

Department Of Child Support Services

The Department Of Child Support Services enforces court-ordered financial and medical support for children who qualify for state and federal aid programs. The department’s mission is to promote parental responsibility to enhance the well being of children by providing child support services to establish parentage and collect child support. In 2021 they collected an estimated $179 million dollars, largely from the parents of poor children who qualify for state and federal programs. Some of the funds collected are distributed to parents as well as recuperated for the county and state for the public assistance funds received by one of the children’s parents. The department operates on a $44 million dollar budget. The Department Of Child Support Services does not receive a net county cost allocation. The department is primarily funded from state and federal sources and the revenue collected from the parents of poor children. 

Children and Families First Commission

The Riverside County Children and Families Commission, First 5 Riverside (F5R) is funded by tobacco taxes generated as a result of Proposition 10 to support prenatal services and children up to the  age five.  Children and Families First Commission receives no county general funds. 

Veterans Services

Veterans Services’ mission is to enhance the quality of life of veterans, their dependents and survivors by providing comprehensive benefits counseling, advocacy, education, and claims assistance. Provide educational opportunities to promote early development and boost employability; enable financial independence to instill economic security, restore self-reliance and enhance societal contribution; foster healthy and safe environments through prevention and early intervention. They operate on a budget of $2,413,550. $1,295,534 is from the county. 

Office On Aging

Serves to promote and support a life of dignity, wellbeing and independence for older adults and persons with disabilities. The Riverside County Office on Aging (RCOoA) provides over 27 different programs and services, either directly or through contracted providers, which allow older adults and persons with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities. All RCOoA programs and services are free to those who meet the minimum qualifications for each program. These services include care coordination, options counseling and decision support, healthy lifestyle and wellness programs, social engagement and community activation, advocacy, coordination and outreach, and community education. They operate on $19,613,294 and the county pays $0 for this program. 

IHSS Public Authority

The IHSS Public Authority’s mission is to strive to assist the elderly and people with disabilities to remain safely in their homes. The Department of Public Social Services is responsible for administering the County’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program and provides oversight for the IHSS Public Authority. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors established the IHSS Public Authority to act as employer of record for Riverside County’s IHSS care providers. The IHSS Public Authority achieves this goal by recruiting, training, maintaining and mobilizing a registry of viable in-home care providers to assist vulnerable elderly and people with disabilities to remain in their homes. This service is available at no cost to the eligible IHSS consumers. The Governor’s January FY 21/22 budget included $26.3 million for Public Authorities (PA). Riverside anticipates that the PA Administrative allocation will remain constant for FY 21/22, at $2.6 million. Utilization of $603,866 from the PA fund balance reserve is included in the FY 21/22 budget. Again, there is no contribution from the county 

RUHS Health and Hospital Services 

The Riverside University Health System (RUHS)’s mission is to “improve the health and well-being of our patients and communities through our dedication to exceptional and compassionate care, education, and research.” RUHS is comprised of six divisions: Community Health Centers (CHC), Behavioral Health (RUHS-BH), Public Health (RUHS-PH), RUHS Medical Center (RUHS-MC), Correctional Health Services (CHS), and Medically Indigent Services Program (MISP).

RUHS-Public Health is responsible for preserving and protecting the health of Riverside County’s 2.4 million residents and visitors. The core functions include: the control and prevention of communicable diseases; responding to public health emergencies; prevention and control of chronic disease; promoting healthy behaviors including increased physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco cessation; monitoring, analyzing, and communicating data reflecting health indicators and risk; registering vital events of births and deaths; providing diagnosis and treatment services, case management and physical and occupational therapy to children under age 21 with complex life-threatening or physically handicapping medical conditions. More recently, the Public Health department has led the COVID-19 response efforts through education, contact tracing, case management and vaccinations.

The integration of Behavioral Health (BH) within RUHS has provided opportunities for increased community mental health and substance use services throughout the county as RUHS continues to implement healthcare reform changes and work toward behavioral health, healthcare, and substance abuse treatment integration. RUHS-BH has five key budget programs:

  • Mental Health Treatment
  • Detention Mental Health 
  • Mental Health Administration 
  • Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention Program 
  • Public Guardian Division 
  • Correctional Health Services 
  • Medically Indigent Services Program (MISP)

The budget for Public Health and California Children’s Services is $101.6 million. 

The budget for Behavioral Health is $557 million. 

The budget for Correctional Health is $50.4 million. 

The RUHS-Public Guardian budget request is $6.2 million.

The budget for the Medically Indigent Services Program (MISP) is $7.2 million.

The Correctional Health is $42.7 million in county costs.

Behavioral Health Detention is $13.4 million net county cost.   

Public Guardian’s budget request remains within the allocated $1.7 million net county cost.

The RUHS Public Health budget is $722,209,495 the county's contribution is $75,505,012

The Hospital Services part of the RUHS budget funds RUHS-MC is comprised of the Medical Center, hospital-based clinics and the Medical and Surgical Center (MSC) with nearly 3,500 healthcare professionals and support staff. Its mission and work profoundly and positively affect tens of thousands of patients every year. The 23-clinic, 439-bed Medical Center trains 1,000 medical residents and students and 2,500 nursing students annually. The Medical Center also operates one of only 10 emergency psychiatric hospitals in California. It does this with a budget of $982,449,904  and the county contributes $47,266,071. 

Public Safety

The Public Safety category includes the Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the Law Offices of the Public Defender, the Fire Department and the Emergency Management Department

The Sheriff’s Department “is dedicated to suppressing and preventing crime. They have the responsibility for upholding both the United States and California constitutions, and the reasonable enforcement of all federal and state laws or ordinances. They also serve the courts and maintain our county jails.” The budget has allocated $892,484,698 and $372,245,921  of that is from the county general fund. 

The Probation Department serves the courts, protects the community and changes lives by working in a collaborative manner with law enforcement, public and private social services agencies, mental health, schools, and other county departments. The department conducts investigations on adult and juvenile criminal offenders, provides intensive supervision, early intervention and treatment services in the community, participates on task force assignments, and delivers juvenile institutional detention and treatment programs throughout the county. 


$41,797,336 County Costs

The District Attorney’s Office is the public prosecutor acting on behalf of the community and vigorously enforces the law, pursues the truth, and safeguards the rights of individuals to ensure that justice is done. They work with every component of the criminal justice system to protect the innocent, to convict and appropriately punish the guilty, and to protect the rights of victims. They also work within the community to prevent and deter crime, now and for future generations. 


County costs: $85,332,329

Public Defender provides legal representation to those individuals who are charged with a crime or involved in certain civil matters. While maintaining the highest level of professional integrity, they are diligent and conscientious advocates and seek to honor and protect the rights of all members of the community by providing vigorous defense from fully competent attorneys. 


County costs: $41,853,502

The Fire Department, in cooperation with Cal Fire, is committed to cooperative, regional and integrated fire protection and emergency services. They are an all-risk department devoted to protecting and serving our residents and visitors. 


$52,232,464 County Costs

The Emergency Management Department enhances the safety and security of the whole community by leading the efforts to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters. They work diligently to implement a novel, all-hazards approach to emergency management with integrated programs for our area’s stakeholders.


$0 County Costs

Overall, the Public Safety category will consume $1,564,013,542 if (for the 1st time) they are not given more funds as the year progresses. 

Public Safety Revenue Sources

  •  Charges for current services, such as fire and police services to contract cities, comprise of $640 million

Public Safety Budgeted Appropriations

Based on the actual accounts of the past budgets, my expectation is that this budget cycle will wind up very much like the past budgets, with the bulk of county resources being consumed by the Public Safety category. To further illustrate, budgeted resources in past budgets went unspent and are transferred into the next year's budgets. I expect that this will be the case in this budget as well. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) reports the actual spending and transfers of unspent funds from the previous budgets. The Expenditure Appropriation Variances show how the budgets are adjusted by the Board of Supervisors over the budget cycle. 

Riverside County 2019-20 CAFR:

Public protection: The original recommended appropriation budget for Public protection increased by $57.1 million or 3.8%, from $1.51 billion to the final appropriation budget of $1.56 billion.”

Riverside County 2018-19 CAFR:

Public protection: The original adopted appropriation budget for Public protection increased by $19.9 million or 1.4%, from $1.44 billion to the final appropriation budget of $1.46 billion. The major appropriation variances are described below.

Riverside County 2017-18 CAFR:

Public protection: The original adopted appropriation budget for Public protection increased by $16.1 million, or 1.2%, from $1.38 billion to the final appropriation budget of $1.40 billion. The major appropriation variances are described below.

Riverside County 2016-17 CAFR:

Public Protection: The original adopted budget for Public Protection increased by $16.1 million, or 1.2%, from $1.35 billion to the final amended appropriation budget of $1.36 billion. The major appropriation variances are described below. 

The following charts show the revenues vs expenses for the major budget categories. Year after year the Public Protection category eats up the bulk of the country's expenses compared to the revenues generated from all sources.  

Riverside County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2020


Riverside County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2019


Riverside County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2018


 Riverside County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2017

The creation of the budget is an ongoing year long process. To affect changes in the county budget, we need to be aware of where and when the budget is being drafted. This is the timeline from the Riverside County Budget.

County Of Riverside | Fiscal Year 2021/2022 Recommended Budget Volume 1 Page 13


Revised FY 2021-2022 Recommended Budget Volume 1: 

FY 2021-2022 Recommended Budget State Schedules Volume 2:

Riverside County's Open Expenditures:!/year/2021/

Riverside County 2019-20 Adopted Budget Resolution:

Riverside County Recommended 2019-20 Budget:

Riverside County 2019-20 CAFR: 

Riverside County FY 18-19 Yearend Cleanup Budget Adjustment:

Riverside County 2017-18 CAFR: