El Dorado delivers balanced budget | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado delivers balanced budget

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

By Gregory Crofton

Tribune staff writer

The race to finish a $277 million budget package for El Dorado County by the end of June ended in a tie. Elimination of about 40 staff positions made the finish possible.

“It is balanced,” said Laura Gill, chief administrative officer for El Dorado County. “The department heads stepped up to plate and got the budget balanced. I make that statement knowing the state could haul off and make some other crazy decision.”

The county, which by law cannot run a deficit, had to make about $8 million in cuts to come up with a balanced budget for 2004-05, which began July 1. The state hasn’t adopted a budget yet so things could change. The county needs to finalize its budget by Oct. 2.

Required cuts for the county involved the elimination of 40 positions from its work force of about 1,800. About one-quarter of employees in those jobs, primarily within departments of mental health and information technology, were laid off. The rest of the positions were vacant or abandoned because the county offered early retirement incentives, Gill said.

The rest of the budget reductions involved a reorganization of county departments, and department heads cutting costs where possible, Gill said.

Adjustments will likely be made to the budget resolution adopted last week by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. Budget hearings are scheduled to start Sept. 13, with the final budget to be adopted by Oct. 2.

“It’s mostly a formality at this point,” said Supervisor Dave Solaro. “We won’t get the (budget) addendum for a few months.”

The $277 million budget includes $161 million from the county’s general fund, fed by revenue generated through property and sales tax.

The other $116 million comes from state grants and county fees. It is tied to specific responsibilities of the county such as road maintenance and mental health, said Bob Toscano, assistant auditor-controller for El Dorado County.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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