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Guest Column by Jack Duran re Five-Year Budgeting

BY PLACER COUNTY SUPERVISOR JACK DURAN

In 2012 the Placer County Board of Supervisors adopted a new multi-year budget strategy to ensure its resources are spent on the services and programs that are most vital to county residents.

I strongly supported the strategy because similar to business revenue and expense forecasting it will help the Board ensure Placer County spends available revenue where it will do the most good.  Multi-year budgeting encourages us to take a close look at county operations in a manner that provides cost sustainability year after year, and provides more flexibility to deal with budget challenges as they appear in the future.  Currently, our multi-year budget model forecasts revenues and expenses in a five year cycle.  The model ensures we align priorities, with the distribution of resources and according to our budgeting goals.

The board approved the new strategy as part of a drive to meet several goals: preserving core services and programs, funding high-priority infrastructure projects and maintaining prudent reserves. Underlying the drive is a realization that county revenue is slowly recovering from recession-era lows, but is not increasing as fast as projected cost increases.

On June 4, the board approved a proposed $690.5 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that is consistent with the new strategy.

The proposed budget will serve as an interim spending plan when the new fiscal year begins July 1. The board will hold several budget workshops in August before adopting a final budget with updated revenue and expenditure figures in September.  As the budget landscape often changes from month to month, an interim spending plan allows us to move forward with core services which we can align when the State budget is passed and funding for County services is certain.

The new multi-year budget strategy already is paying dividends. It provided a framework for a funding plan that will allow us to accomplish one of my top priorities: opening the new correctional facility at the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville. On May 7, the board approved plans for a phased opening set to begin in early in 2014.  The facility opening will provide much needed security and safety improvements for our correctional operations team as a result of the impacts of AB 109 Correctional Realignment.

The new budget strategy will serve Placer County well into the future. It is a common-sense, business based, cost-effective approach that will help us maintain the best-possible service to the public.  As we anticipate growing revenues in the future, the mutli-year strategy will also pay large dividends in permitting the Board to locate funding for critical economic development projects and programs for our County’s growing business community, of which I am a proud member.

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