Following years of reductions, Sacramento County’s fiscal outlook is looking up for the second year in a row. After reconciling accounts and making adjustments to June’s $3.6 billion dollar proposed budget, the County is in the black. Savings from controlling expenditures have contributed to a surplus of $32.5 million that is available to augment critical services and pay past debt.
“I’m happy to report that we have discretionary funds to invest in our community and to address the Board’s service priorities,” said County Executive Bradley J. Hudson. “Because the departments held the line on expenses we’re beginning to recover from the impact of the “Great Recession.”
Of the $3.6 billion, less than a half billion is actually discretionary, and we can decide how to spend it, Hudson added. “I am recommending the resources be allocated across a variety of programs to optimize the use of the funds, while paying back loans and building up our contingency funds. Many of these programs were cut to the bone during the recession and had to be restored.”
Of the $32.5 million that is available, some of the recommended changes include:
Contingency Funds: $2.2 M
Loan Repayment: $11.7M
Sheriff: $4.9 M
Investment in services, including parks, code enforcement, supervision of drug offenders, District Attorney, Public Health to address communicable diseases and Animal Care: $4.5 M
Health and Human Services to backfill state budget cuts: $6.5 M
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Hudson added. “The next few years will continue to be rocky as the economy continues its slow recovery.” Ongoing fiscal challenges include increased pension costs, negotiated salary and benefit obligations, repaying $59 million in past internal borrowing, and replacing funding taken by the State for the Affordable Care Act, said Hudson. “We also need to backfill about $21 million in one-time resources used to balance previous budgets.”
“It’s important to take the long view, and we’re going to need four to five percent annual growth in discretionary revenue over the next five years to stay fiscally healthy; last year’s growth was less than one percent,” Hudson added. “We’ll continue to focus on streamlining services, increasing efficiency through the use of technology and holding down costs.”
The budget hearing will be on Tuesday, September 10, beginning at 2 p.m., and will feature presentations form the County Executive, Sheriff and other departments. The hearings are held in the Board of Supervisor Chambers at 700 H Street and are open to the public. They may also be watched live on Metro Cable Channel 14 or streamed online.
For complete details, read the County Executive’s Budget Letter or view the entire budget documents on the Office of Financial Management website.
The Board of Supervisors approved the budget on September 10, 2013.