Stanislaus County, CA – Government throughout the State of California continues to struggle with the financial downturn. For Stanislaus County, the Final Budget Addendum reveals the impacts of Public Safety Realignment, increasing social services needs for County residents, and continued decline in property taxes.
A Public Hearing to adopt the Final Budget Addendum for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 has been scheduled for 9:05 a.m. on September 11, 2012, to be continued if necessary on September 12 and 13, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will take place at 1010 Tenth Street in Modesto in the basement Board Chambers.
The Final Budget Addendum recommended by the Chief Executive Officer totals $984,161,674 in total spending. This is an overall increase of $93,034,571, or 10.4 percent, from the Adopted Final Budget for 2011-2012. Several elements account for the majority of the increase: $49 million is allocated for the Kiernan/State Route 99 interchange and Claribel Road Widening road projects; $13.9 million in carryover of department savings from the prior fiscal year; $13.3 million of additional funding in the General and Special Revenue funds related to Public Safety Realignment; $14.1 million for operational growth needs; and $2.7 million for critical facility needs like re-roof projects and heating and ventilation equipment repair.
“We will remain strong as an organization and community. As we continue to see signs of an improving economy and the results of our strategic planning, it will be important that the organization continues to remind ourselves of the recent past to shape and define our future,” stated Monica Nino, Chief Executive Officer for Stanislaus County.
“The organization continues to move forward through this adversity with a determination and drive that is unparalleled to ensure that core services continue to be provided to County residents and communities in creative new ways that are strategic and measured,” stated Nino.
The County is proposing a total of 3,793 positions in the Recommended Final Budget, up from 3,607 positions a year ago. Overall, there has been an increase of 186 positions from the 2011-2012 Adopted Final Budget. These new positions are primarily a result of Public Safety Realignment as well as the additional staff needed to care for more people receiving public assistance and social services benefits. These positions are primarily funded by State and Federal dollars.
County employees continue to do what is necessary to ensure the organization remains sound and that critical public services are aligned with available resources. Collectively, all labor organizations have agreed to the continuation of the 5% salary deduction and the implementation of an additional 1% salary deduction. In addition, employees shared in the cost of health insurance, an equivalent of another 2% of salary, which started back on January 1, 2012. Stanislaus County was one of the first counties in the State of California to implement pension reform in Fiscal Year 2010-2011 as a proactive, long-term cost containment strategy.
Discretionary revenue is unrestricted money the County is free to use for things like law enforcement, healthcare, parks and other services. Property tax and sales tax are two key components of discretionary revenue. Discretionary revenue is budgeted at $147,141,201 in Fiscal Year 2012-2013, up nearly $7.1 million when compared to $140,029,000 in the Adopted Final Budget of 2011-2012. However, the County’s actual discretionary revenue reached a high of $180,783,000 in the 2007-2008 Fiscal Year and has plummeted to its current level as a result of the national economic crisis and plunge in local real estate values. This loss of discretionary revenue continues to impact County services.
The Final Budget is balanced through the use of discretionary revenue and the one-time use of reserves that are dwindling and placing the County at some level of risk. The Final Budget relies on reserves of $9.2 million, Discretionary Revenue of $147 million, and the $8.5 million of Unassigned Fund Balance (a $3.1 million increase from the Adopted Proposed Budget) to address a variety of operational and capital needs.
The Stanislaus County 2012-2013 Final Budget Addendum is available for public review. It can be viewed at the Board of Supervisors Office of the County of Stanislaus at 1010 10th Street, Suite 6500 in Modesto. It is also available on the County’s web site, www.stancounty.com/budget or at any of the thirteen libraries located throughout Stanislaus County.