Supervisors to consider $605.4M budget for El Dorado County | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Supervisors to consider $605.4M budget for El Dorado County

Mackenzie Myers
Mountain Democrat

Before the end of the fiscal year, El Dorado County supervisors will hear and vote on an annual recommended budget Monday, June 18. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. inside the Board of Supervisors chambers at 330 Fair Lane in Placerville.

The recommended budget for fiscal year 2018-19 is $605.4 million, according to Don Ashton, county chief administrative officer. Ashton said $290 million of that will go toward the county's general fund, which involves local dollars funding law and justice, land development, health services and administrative operations.

This year's recommended budget is 6.4 percent more than the 2017-18 adopted budget. Within the 6.4 percent increase, which amounts to $36.5 million, most of those funds are slated for the new sheriff's office facility on Industrial Drive, though about $3.2 million is to cover increasing CalPERS costs for public employees' retirement.

When asked what is unique about this year's budget compared to those of previous years, Ashton pointed to CalPERS and the sheriff's office, the latter of which is funded by a $57.1 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Payments on the loan principal don't begin until 2021, but workers completing the project will need to be paid in the meantime. As a result, the fixed assets in this year's budget have increased 114 percent compared to last year, according to Ashton's report.

The county plans to add four sheriff's deputies to its ranks this year, nearly balancing the 4.7 full-time positions being removed from other county departments. While Health and Human Services is hiring nine, new full-time employees, those positions are state-funded, Ashton said.

"We're adding more positions than we're cutting — there's no question about that," he said. "The difference is what money is paying for them."

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The county also plans to spend $82,000 from the general fund to support a contract for a homeless coordinator, in an attempt to tackle one of the challenges outlined in the budget's priority areas. Ashton said priorities are identified by statewide or federal mandates, county department requests, pressure from the community and input from the Board of Supervisors.

Other financial objectives Ashton foresees are completing jail updates, maintaining competitive pay for employees, completing years of deferred maintenance for county facilities and becoming compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"People are frustrated with how much we're spending on buildings," Ashton said. "But the feds have told us … we have to be compliant."

Ashton said that though past budget hearings have extended into the evening hours, he expects this one to be complete around midday, depending on the amount of discussion at the meeting.

Once the recommended budget is approved, it will continue on for adoption in September.

The whole recommended budget is available at bit.ly/ElDoradoBudget.