El Dorado County Supervisors discuss budget issues
April 1, 2015
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors discussed road projects and other budgetary issues during its regular meeting Wednesday.
The items most contested related to budgetary issues.
In an item that was initially listed in the consent agenda, the board discussed a request by the Community Development Agency, Environmental Management Division for the purchase of a 2015 Ford F-150 for the use of Vector Control in the Tahoe area. The $29,401 for the truck was proposed to be taken out of County Service Area (CSA) 3.
The issue was raised after First Vice-Chair Ron Mikulaco expressed concerns with the direction the board is taking regarding managing the budget. Staff said it had already budgeted for the purchase of the truck, but Mikulaco asked if there were other options to avoid the purchase, namely allocation of another county vehicle for that purpose. Staff said it had not reviewed other options because the purchase had already been budgeted within the service area, but that it could explore other options.
The board then further discussed the importance of the vehicle and the effects delaying the vehicle currently in use, a 1994 model which staff said has had mechanical issues.
Mikulaco motioned to continue the item for two weeks to explore other options.
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District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel opposed to the motion and expressed concerns over public safety issues related to warming weather and the dangers of West-Nile-Virus-carrying mosquitoes.
The board first voted 3-2 to turn down Mikulaco's motion and subsequently 3-2 to approve the purchase of the truck.
The budgetary debate began with a different item that was also initially listed in the consent agenda, regarding a budget transfer requested by the Community Development Agency, Administration and Finance Division.
During that discussion, Mikulaco also expressed concerns regarding the board's direction regarding budgetary issues. Mikulaco argued against allowing departments to continue spending more while the board is trying to reduce expenditures.
Still, staff and some board members referred to the transfer as a "standard annual process," and argued that the funds were necessary to fund projects previously approved. Staff also cited several aspects that are now predicted to cost more than they initially thought, particularly an increase in use of county vehicles.
The board eventually voted 4-1 to approve the request.
In an item regarding road maintenance and budget allocation to different projects, the board unanimously voted to split an LT-Tribe fund of $2.5 million to road maintenance and to remain in the fund.
The vote came as a bit of a surprise, after the board and the Transportation Division discussed different options for the use of funds at length and for much of the discussion seemed to disagree. The staff's recommendation was to keep the money in the fund and save it for a potential use in the Diamond Springs Parkway Project – a more than $20 million project. However, they were open to the idea to reallocate the funds for road maintenance in the future if necessary.
Among the most vocal was Supervisor Mikulaco, who insisted the money was intended to mitigate issues related to casino traffic. The board eventually agreed to split the money and allocate $1.5 million to each cause.
In a separate issue, the board also approved changes to the proposed 2015 Capital Improvement Program, which included the incorporation of a five-year Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Resident Member Vicky L Neibauer and appointed Eva Roberson to the position.