County adopts tentative budget for 2018-19

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors anticipates dipping into reserves to meet a $95.7 million spending plan for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which began July 1.

The Board approved a tentative budget on June 26, which would allow expenditures for the county’s operational needs until they adopt a final budget in the fall.

“We don’t know what any rollovers would be at this point in time,” said Chairman Gary Evans. “We had to make a few cuts in places, but if the budget gods are smiling on us we will be able to backfill those in August or September when the state figures out what they’ve done to us.”

The $95.7 recommended budget include all funds, including enterprise funds, county service areas, special districts, and other reserve funds. The General Fund component of the budget is about $33.8 million, officials said.

County Administrative Officer Wendy Tyler said the county this year is facing a 5.64 percent increase in salaries and benefits over last year’s budget for the county’s 388 employees, as the cost of bargaining agreements, retirement pensions, and insurance premiums mount.

Tyler said the total spending plan is 6 percent over last year’s final adopted budget, with .15 percent of the increase residing in general fund functions. Salaries and Benefits for county employees comprise 42.6 percent of the budget.

Supervisors had previously asked all county departments to submit a status quo budget for their services and supplies, and to cover any anticipated increases within their own department. “They’ve really done a phenomenal job,” Tyler said.

Still, the county had to face some tough cuts, officials said, including reducing the subsidy for ambulance services and cutting the $25,000 per year each supervisor was able to give to non-county agencies and non-profit organizations.

In two years, the county funded $250,000 in grants to the Sacramento Valley Museum, the Colusa VFW, the Stonyford Community Hall, Cypress Hill Cemetery, Colusa Fire Department, Princeton Library Park, the Arbuckle Train Depot renovation project, Williams Community Center and others projects.

“We did our best to not upset any apple carts in this whole thing,” Evans said. “It really doesn’t do any good to try and start cutting too much into the departments’ budgets, and then find out come September that we didn’t have to do that,” Evans said.

Meanwhile, Tyler said the approximate $4.8 million gap between anticipated revenue and expenditures will be covered by the General Fund cash carry, and the fund balances available in a variety of special revenue, special district and other operational funds, such as the Road Fund, Social Services Fund, Mental Health Services Act fund, AB 109 and others.

About $384,800 could come from reserves, she said.

Because county departments will be left with very little discretionary funding in their budgets, the county budgeted about $437,000 for unanticipated expenses.

Rural Law Enforcement funds and other grants will cover the purchase of five new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department, one for Probation, two for Pubic Works, and one for Community Development.