County gets some good budget news
County governments in California including El Dorado enjoyed a brief sigh of relief when Gov. Schwarzenegger announced his revised state budget plan last week.
It indicated the state needs $350 million instead of $900 million in county property tax money to address the state’s $26 billion budget deficit in 2004-2005. And those funds will be diverted for two years, not on a permanent basis as previously planned.
“I want folks to understand it’s better, but we’re still not jumping for joy over here,” said Laura Gill, chief administrative officer for El Dorado County.
If the Legislature approves Schwarzenegger’s revised budget it would decrease El Dorado County’s anticipated budget deficit for 2004-05, which starts July 1, from $12.5 million $10.4 million.
Gill said the county is not prepared to announce departmental budget cuts or job cuts that will be required to address the deficit. She said her staff is in the process of reviewing budget proposals from department heads. Earlier estimates by the county indicated that 70 of the 1,900 jobs it provides could be lost.
With the support of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, Gill has already instituted other cost savings measures that include: Temporary layoffs, consolidation of 14 departments into six and offered an early retirement plan for eligible employees.
For the current budget year, El Dorado County’s general fund has a budget of $160 million. With transportation, health, community service and other state funded programs included in the budget, it tops out a $285 million.
– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org