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Board of Supervisors to Get Budget Updates at Meeting Tuesday

December 12, 2011

The Placer County Board of Supervisors will get an encouraging budget update Tuesday that shows county expenditures and revenue remain in line with estimates in the final 2011-12 budget adopted in September.

Board members also will take an initial look at the budget challenges that will face the county during the 2012-13 fiscal year and consider giving the county budget team initial guidance on how to deal with them.

In a report to the board, the budget team notes that revenue and expenditures for the fiscal year that began July 1 are meeting expectations.

The report notes that approximately $250,000 in costs may be shifted from the state to Placer County next month if state revenue continues to run below projections. During final 2011-12 budget workshops, the impacts were estimated to be up to $1 million. However, due to the board’s continued proactive approach to mitigate likely cuts to the greatest degree possible, the actual impact is much lower.

The state’s 2011-12 budget includes two tiers of cuts that will automatically go into effect Jan. 1 if state revenue falls below specified trigger points.

“Although revenues have improved significantly over the last month, given the overall significant underperformance of revenues, it appears likely that the trigger cuts will go into effect January 1, 2012,” staff says in its report.

During budget workshops last August, board members gave the county additional flexibility in dealing with mid-year budget cuts, other possible revenue reductions and potential cost increases when it decided to bolster county budget reserves and contingency funds by more than $5.5 million.

In the report for Tuesday’s meeting, staff notes that it expects the state will again give counties less revenue and more responsibilities next fiscal year because it is facing an estimated $13 billion deficit.

Staff estimates Placer County currently is facing a $4.1 million initial deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012, including $2.3 million in its General Fund and $2.8 million in the Public Safety Fund.

Staff outlines a series of options that could be used to eliminate the projected deficit.

The main uncertainty facing the county is how soon it will need to open the new jail being built at the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville.

In October, the state began shifting from state to county responsibility many adult parolees and lower-risk criminal offenders through a program known as public safety realignment.

Placer County is scheduled to receive an additional $3.1 million during the 2011-12 fiscal year to help cover the costs of its new responsibilities.

Placer County is in better shape than many counties and cities in California because of cost-cutting actions approved by the board over the last few years in response to the state budget crisis and economic slowdown. They include:

  • A hiring freeze that has been in place since 2007;
  • A move to have employees pay larger shares of their pension and health insurance costs; and
  • Creation of a two-tier retirement system that will scale back benefits to new employees, but help ensure that benefit costs are sustainable in the future.

Tuesday’s meeting will be held at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the County Administrative Center, 175 Fulweiler Ave., in Auburn.

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