Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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County approves stopgap budget

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors last week approved a recommended budget for 2020-21 although the numbers are expected to change dramatically when the state decides how to handle an estimated $54 billion deficit due to COVID-19.

The $100.2 million Colusa County budget is mostly a rollover budget from the previous year, which will allow the county to function until the board adopts a final budget in September, said Administrative Officer Wendy Tyler.

“This budget really is just for buffering,” Tyler said. “It will allow us to continue to pay staff and costs as we move forward in calculating our final budget.”

The temporary spending plan includes general fund, enterprise funds, internal services funds, county service areas, dependent special districts, and other restricted funds.

The general fund of $34.1 million pays for law enforcement, public works, and most county operations. Health and Human Services’ $31.1 million budget and Behavioral Health’s $7.5 million budget are largely funded by state and federal funds.

Although a final state budget is not expected until fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 21 said the state budget would likely protect core services, such as education, social safety net programs, and emergency preparedness and response.

Colusa County receives about $35.5 million a year from outside agencies, officials said.

According to the board’s spending plan, which started July 1, the single largest expenditure is the county’s $42.1 million annual payout in salaries and benefits. The placeholder budget, adopted at the board’s June 30 regular meeting, does not incorporate the 2.6 percent salary increases that were recently approved for county employees, Tyler said.

Colusa County receives about $20.5 million in tax revenue; $1.1 million in licenses and permits, and about $28 million from other sources.

Because the final budget contains many “unknowns” until the final budget is adopted, Tyler said county departments have been asked to spend judiciously.

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