By Joe Nelson
joe.nelson@ @SBCountyNow on Twitter
Posted: 06/12/2013 02:14:56 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved a balanced $4.4 billion budget and adopted an ordinance establishing a temporary moratorium on solar-energy projects.

The 2013-14 fiscal year budget includes an increase of $155.1 million in the general fund, a portion of which will be used to cover retirement costs in law enforcement and to address rising caseloads in the county’s social welfare system.

Of the county’s 12 budget groups, the Human Services division has the largest budget: $1.6 billion.

County spokesman David Wert blamed one culprit for that number: poverty.

According to figures from the Human Services division, the county on May 1 had 14 percent more residents on welfare and Medi-Cal and collecting food stamps than it had at the same time the previous year. And as of May 31, the department of Aging and Adult Services saw a 6.5 percent increase in in-home support service cases over the previous year.

The Transitional Assistance Department, an arm of Human Services, will add 158 positions to address the influx in cases.

An increase in felony caseloads at the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices, coupled with added responsibilities to the Sheriff’s and Probation departments, all due to prison realignment, are the biggest reasons for the county law and justice group’s $825.7 million budget.

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