El Dorado County revenue shrinking; more layoffs likely | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado County revenue shrinking; more layoffs likely

Eric Laughlin / The Mountain Democrat

PLACERVILLE – Despite the fact that El Dorado County approved its 2008-09 operating budget just two weeks ago, its chief administrative officer now says it is not going to suffice and that layoffs might be necessary.

In a presentation to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Gayle Erbe-Hamlin, the county’s chief administrative officer, called the county’s situation “condition red,” adding that some departments are seeing a significant dropoff in revenue and that revenue for the General Fund is not coming in on target.

The department at the forefront of the discussion is Development Services, which faces a potential revenue shortfall of $2 million to $2.4 million, according to Erbe-Hamlin.

She explained to the board that a decline in applications for single-family dwelling permits in the first quarter of the budget year has led to a 50 percent drop in permit revenue from this time last year.

She suggested to the board that options to correct the Development Services discrepancy include layoffs, higher fees and a reduction in the hours of operation.

Erbe-Hamlin said she expects the board to adopt one of two recommendations. One includes the layoff of 12 full-time employees in Development Services, and another would result in pink slips for as many as 25 county workers in the Development Services Department, including its Planning and Administration divisions.

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In her initial proposal, Erbe-Hamlin listed four departments that potentially would be off the table for cuts. They included deputy sheriff positions, Veterans Affairs, Senior Nutrition and aid to fire agencies. But since the board members could not come to a consensus, those areas, as well as all other departments countywide, were put back on the table.

In addition to Development Services, the county’s senior day-care program is seeing a projected revenue shortfall of $100,000. Proposals for that program include higher fees and cancellation of the El Dorado Hills program.

Erbe-Hamlin also requested that the county’s General Fund reserve be beefed up to prepare for potential effects of a worsening economy. The General Fund reserve currently is 3 percent of the overall budget, at $5.9 million. The proposal recommends pushing it up to 5 percent, to a figure of $9.6 million.

Development Services Director Roger Trout is expected to come back to the board Oct. 21 with recommendations, as will heads of the departments of Transportation and Human Services on Oct. 28.