Nevada County supervisors expected to approve budget at special meeting
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a $183.5 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year during today’s special meeting.
Today’s meeting is the last of two meetings geared toward incorporating public input into the budget process, which must be in place before the new fiscal year begins July 1.
The June 4 hearing featured a modest public turnout with most of the attendees scrutinizing the Community Development Agency’s budget and recommending code compliance either be downsized or eliminated.
The board ultimately recommended the CDA’s budget be approved as submitted but said it would follow up on many of the complaints regarding the code compliance department.
In the executive summary for the preliminary budget, County Executive Officer Rick Haffey stated the budget is essentially the same as it was in 2011-12 ($172.9 million) but for the passage of California Assembly Bill 109. The Public Safety Realignment, as it is informally known, shifted the responsibilities of housing low-level inmates convicted of non-violent crimes from the state to county jurisdictions.
In 2012, the program increased the county’s budget by $12 million, and in 2013, the budget will be $14 million higher.
Taking away the increase in realignment costs, the county budget increased slightly.
“This is the first year in five years that the county’s budget has not dropped,” Haffey wrote. “In fact, factoring out the state’s realignment of responsibilities, the county of Nevada budget has truly declined over $20 million since 2008/2009 ($190.9 million).”
The county’s largest revenue source for the general fund and discretionary spending is property taxes, which are dependent on assessed property values.
While conceding the local real estate market is “finally beginning to show signs of life,” Haffey stated, “this has not yet resulted in an uptick of property tax revenues.”
County financial officials are predicting property taxes will remain flat.
“The Great Recession ended in 2009, and there has been a tepid recovery ever since,” Haffey wrote.
The county currently employs the equivalent of 773 full-time positions, and that will also remain flat, according to the proposed budget. In 2008-09, the county employed an equivalent of 986 full-time positions.
Haffey stated that anticipated increases in pension costs mean “personnel cuts and use of reserves will be the only tools left to keep the budget balanced.”
The county has been able to keep the general fund balance above 2007 levels, despite dipping into reserves annually in order to maintain essential services, Haffey stated. In 2007, the general fund balance as of June 30 was about $16 million. In 2011, the fund balance was about $21.5 million; it was $19.4 million in 2012 and is expected to be around $17 million in 2013 and $16.4 million in June 2014.
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors will conduct a special meeting at 9 a.m. today to hear written and oral comments from the public concerning the proposed budget.
To view the budget and related material, visit http://mynevadacounty.com/nc/ceo/Pages/budgetmain.aspx.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.
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