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    Riverside County Still Building Assets

    Robert Byrd

    (RIVERSIDE, Calif.) – Even in these tough economic times, Riverside County continues to spend less than its revenue, thus putting more money into its coffers to help residents.

    County of Riverside Financial Highlights for Fiscal Year 2007-2008, a 28-page, full-color report recently released by the Riverside County Auditor Controller’s Office, shows this financial picture. It’s available on the Web at http://www.auditorcontroller.org.

    The report reveals that Riverside County took in more than $3.5 billion in revenue from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008 but spent just under $3.2 billion. Thus, it added $322 million to its net assets at the end of the fiscal year, bringing the total of net assets to $3,351,697,000.

    “In Fiscal Year 2007-2008, our county continued to grow, thus easing the financial strain locally,” Riverside County Auditor-Controller Robert Byrd said. “Furthermore, Riverside County has been prudent in its fiscal management over the past years. While we are not experiencing double-digit property-tax revenue growth as in the past, revenue has not decreased as much as in many other California counties.”

    However, Byrd cautions that next year’s financial report likely won’t be as glowing as this one.

    “Our county, state, country and world are experiencing a financial crisis,” he said. “Issues involving mortgages, foreclosures and the collapse of banking institutions, as well as corruption and unethical behavior, abound. Riverside County is not an island unto itself; it has been impacted by these global problems. Now, more than ever, it is essential we do everything possible to ensure county operations are efficient and that safeguards are in place to identify and stop wasteful spending.”

    This year’s Financial Highlights shows how Riverside County will spend some of its assets.

    Not all of it is money in the bank, Byrd explained. About $872 million was the value on June 30 of capital assets the county owns such as land, buildings and furnishings.

    Another portion of these net assets is restricted to certain purposes, as the county received this money through loans, grants or donations for specific uses, such as community development, paying off old debts, public protection and others. Some money is also restricted because of certain laws.

    This leaves more than $1.6 billion in unrestricted funds available to the county for any purpose its leaders deem to be in the public interest.

    Financial Highlights also lists some of the major construction projects Riverside County embarked on during Fiscal 2007-08. These include:

    • $24.6 million for improvements to roads and traffic signals
    • $5 million to build fire stations in Cabazon, Lake Riverside and Mead Valley
    • $9.6 million for Mission Boulevard streetscaping
    • $6.3 million for street improvements and a storm drain at Armstrong Road and Sierra Avenue in Sunnyslope
    • $14.1 million for additional storm drains throughout the county
    • $1.6 million for the Siemens Hospital Information System
    • $15.2 million for the Rubidoux Fleet Operations Center
    • $56 million to build the Riverside Centre
    • $5.1 million for the Cabazon Fleet Facility

    There are many colorful graphics in this report, including a “dollar bill” chart showing that for every dollar of property tax collected, 48 cents is spent on schools, 25 cents on community redevelopment, 12 cents on Riverside County itself, eight cents on the county’s special districts and seven cents on the cities within Riverside County.

    Additional color pie charts and bar graphs further break down how money is spent and received by Riverside County. And for those who want even more detailed information, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report provides 206 pages of information about the state of Riverside County’s finances. . This report is also available on the Web at http://www.auditorcontroller.org.

    In 2002, Robert Byrd became the county’s elected Auditor-Controller with more votes cast than in the entire history of the office. In so doing, he was California’s first African American elected to that office. He was subsequently re-elected to a second four-year term in June of 2006.

    Byrd virtually revolutionized the office of the county’s Auditor-Controller by restructuring it to provide optimum customer service while improving the quality and flow of information to the county’s management. He adds, “We refocused Riverside County’s audit function to not only serve its regulatory mandates, but also to incorporate flexibility to audit proactively,” thus bringing fresh standards to the county’s processes and functionality.

    He sees his professional contributions as going beyond what’s expected of his office, however. He has been chair of the Riverside County Employee Campaign and the Legislative Chair for the State Association of County Auditors. Additionally, Byrd has been a commissioner on the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission, and members of the Society of Municipal Finance Officers, the Government Finance Officer’s Association and the State Association of County Auditors.

    Committed to his community, he’s a member of Riverside Rotary, board member of the Next of Kin Registry, is on the International Relations Council for Riverside and performs as Finance Chairperson for La Sierra Academy’s Board of Trustees.
    For details on the Riverside County Auditor-Controller’s office call (951) 955-3800.

    The Office of the Auditor-Controller is headed by Robert E. Byrd, CGFM, who is elected by the voters of Riverside County. The Auditor-Controller staff and management teams are dedicated to providing sound financial accounting, auditing and reporting in order to serve the citizens of Riverside County. More information is available on the Web at http://www.auditorcontroller.org.


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