San Bernadino Courthouse

A view of the Superior Court of San Bernardino County Justice Center, which is still under construction at the 200 block of N. Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. The San Bernardino Superior Courty System’s fiscal year budget has been released for public comment. (Gabriel Luis Acosta — staff photographer)

By Lori Fowler, The Sun
Posted: 09/06/13, 10:34 PM PDT |

The newly passed budget for the San Bernardino County Superior Court system is still not exactly rosy but the prospects for the future are a lot better than they were even just a few months ago.

The local Judicial Executive Committee of the court approved the proposed budget for 2013-2014 this week revealing $97.4 million in revenue for this fiscal year but with $112.8 million in expenses, leaving it unbalanced because of substantial state cuts, Court Executive Officer Stephen Nash said.

And come July 1, 2014, the courts will end up with a projected reserve fund of $1.8 million.

The under-resourced court has taken action to reduce the size of their financial hole, Nash said, but there is still more work to do before they see a balanced budget.

In March 2012, the court was looking at a projected shortfall of more than $22 million. But court efficiencies and unexpected state funds bring the current deficit to less than $5 million, Nash said.

“Considering where we were, it’s tremendous progress,” Nash said. “But at the end of the day there is still a deficit in this budget.”

The expense total in this year’s budget is broken down to three categories. More than $87 million is set aside for personal services, $24 million for operating expenses and equipment, and $791,000 for special items of expense.

Included in expenditures for this year is the money needed to finalize the move into the new Justice Center, which is expected to be open in San Bernardino next year.

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