On Tuesday June 8, the Placer County Board of Supervisors will consider approving a proposed budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year. It will serve as an interim spending plan until the Board adopts a final budget in September.
The proposed $739 million budget is 5.7 percent smaller than the 2009-10 Final Budget of $783 million.
Most of that reduction, however, is because last year, the county’s budget included funds restricted for capital improvement projects now completed or almost completed, such as the interchange at Sunset Boulevard over Highway 65, and from continued progress on projects such as the South Placer Correctional Facility. The decline in the operating budget is less than one percent, while the capital projects budget is 15.6 percent less.
Several of Placer County’s key revenue sources are down significantly. Between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 Fiscal Year budgets, sales taxes are down 18 percent, while secured property taxes and in-lieu property taxes are each down five percent. Public safety sales taxes are down 10 percent. However some intergovernmental revenues tied to Health and Human Services increased, primarily due to the impact of federal stimulus funds.
During the past several years, Placer County has balanced its budget by significant cost reductions and constrained operational costs. As part of the county’s efforts to protect vital services, funds have been redirected from other programs to pay for critical health and human services and public safety programs. As employees have left county service or retired, their positions have usually not been refilled. These hiring restrictions have reduced the number of staff by about 10 percent (280 fewer employees) since fall of 2007.
The county’s proposed 2010-11 fiscal year budget continues this pattern, with hiring restrictions, five work furlough days to cut costs, and also includes minimal use of reserves ($4.5 million).
At Tuesday’s meeting the Board will also consider delegating layoff authority to Placer County Executive Officer Thomas M. Miller for Fiscal Year 2010 -1l, both because of reduced county revenues and because of the reduced workload of some county departments, particularly those involving development permits. The Board similarly delegated such authority in 2009.
By reducing its costs significantly, Placer County has mostly avoided layoffs during the last three years of challenging budgets. Surrounding jurisdictions haven’t been so fortunate, and most counties and cities in the region have laid off staff, in some cases, hundreds of staff. Layoffs in Placer County over the last two years, including those this year, will likely total less than two dozen.
“Placer County has taken many actions during this extended recession to protect jobs, and we regret the need to consider layoffs in the 2010-11 fiscal year,” said CEO Miller. “Unfortunately, the continuing economic slowdown has reduced our discretionary revenues by $18 million and reduced our workload as well, making some layoffs necessary.”
Currently, the number of positions affected by lack of funds and/or lack of work is estimated to be 12. Additional, yet undetermined staffing adjustments may become necessary due to the impacts of the California state budget, which has not yet been written or adopted.
Placer County’s budget continues to invest in the future, and continues to spend restricted funding on major capital projects such as the Kings Beach commercial core improvements, widening Auburn-Folsom Road, implementing the Foresthill Bridge Seismic Retrofit and the new South Placer Correctional Facility. The County will also continue to seeking federal and state funding for construction projects and transit improvement.
The proposed county budget will be reviewed at 9:30 a.m. during the regular June 8 Board meeting at the Placer County Administrative Center, 175 Fulweiler Avenue in Auburn. On August 18 and 19, the Board is planning comprehensive budget review hearings with a follow up meeting August 24. The Board will hold its final budget hearing in September before final adoption.
The public is invited to attend budget hearings. All Board of Supervisors meetings may also be viewed live online at by clicking this link: Supervisors Meetings A recording of the meeting is also available online within a day or two of the meeting. Residents may also call into a phone line to listen to the Board meeting (530-886-5225) or see it replayed on some cable stations. Board of Supervisors information packets are available online as well.