County Continues Budget Hearings

By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors continued its budget hearings Tuesday in order to approve its new budget soon.

The Board of Supervisors continues looking at their proposed budget and also looking at possible augmentations for some departments. CEO Ralph Cordova said they started working on this budget ever since Governor Jerry Brown sign the budget passed by the California legislature on June 15. The Governor signed a budget that includes restructuring the state’s welfare program, CalWorks. The bill would reduce the time most Californians can receive welfare from four years to two, with several exceptions.

The State budget will also streamline health insurance for low income children and the elimination of Healthy Families insurance program and moving Medi-Cal income limits from $30,000 versus $56,000. There will be reduction of college aid beginning in 2013-14.

Cordova said that the budget relies heavily on the November ballot initiative that will increase sales tax for a period of five years and an increase in the state income tax on certain taxpayers. He said that failure of tax initiatives will trigger automatic cuts to programs and schools. Impacts on the County have not been determined, Cordova said.

The State has restructured and downsized the prison system transferring responsibility for non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual offenders to counties with no guarantee of funding of additional cost yet.

The County Budget General Fund beginning balance for FY 11/12 carry over fund balance is $10,717,533. The anticipated revenue is at $201,991, 245 and anticipated expenditures will be $213,883,759. Available financing will be at $212,708,778. The total deficit net adjustment will be $1,174,981.

Supervisors also approved on Tuesday the realignment transfer to categorical aid form Public and Behavioral health in the amount of $1,058,318. That, added to another transfer from the revenue stabilization reserve in the amount of $268,523, will balance the County budget at $1,326,841for FY 2012-2013.

There were some presentations from some departments justifying for an augmentation in their staff and also asked for reclassification of their staff in order to make their departments more efficient. The Board is expected to approve the final budget at their regular meeting next week.