Business as usual as state funds stall |

Business as usual as state funds stall

A late state budget won’t impact Nevada County’s ability to pay its employees and maintain operations, county officials said Friday.

“The county has sufficient money in reserves and ample resources to pay county employees,” Nevada County Auditor Bruce Bielefelt said.

Bielfelt’s statement came after state Controller Steve Westly warned that his office would not be able to pay many of its bills, including money owed to schools, community colleges, courts and other local government entities.

The state Legislature is mandated by law to submit a balanced budget for the governor’s approval by June 30 of each fiscal year, a feat it has accomplished only twice in the past 10 years. Into the second week of the fiscal year, California is again without a balanced budget.

Laura Matteson, the assistant CEO of the County Executive Office, said that her department often anticipates late payments from the state due to a delayed budget and plans accordingly.

“We always protect payroll,” she said. “Alternative funding sources will keep it going.”

Matteson explained that local government can dip into the county’s general fund in order to pay employees and operating expenses.

County courts also have other funding sources so they can stay open when the state budget is late. Sean Metroka, executive officer of the Nevada County Superior Court, said that county courts rely on cash reserves and the state’s administrative office of the courts to cover expenses when state funding is delayed.

“The courts are lucky because they are allowed to maintain modest cash reserves to cover payroll expenses for at least one month,” he said.

Tom Chorneau of the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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