The Colusa County Board of Supervisors are instructing departments to stick to a status quo spending plan as they prepare for the 2019-20 budget.
County department heads should have their instructions and guidelines for preparing next year’s budget by Thursday, Administrative Officer Wendy Tyler said, at the board’s March 5 mid-year budget review.
“Each department is required to submit a budget proposal that reflect the status quo, with the exception of increases in salary and benefit levels due to bargained increases, anticipated step increases, or advancement within flexibly staffed allocations, and increases in cost plan changes,” Tyler noted. “This is a different approach from past years.”
Departments will be asked to manage all other increased costs within their budget, while keeping to the same level of spending as 2018-19.
“There will be no countywide requirement to submit reduction proposals,” Tyler said. “However, departments may be required to develop mitigation plans, including possible reductions, to address circumstanced unique to the office or department.”
Colusa County’s total budget at the time of adoption last year was $95.6 million, a 6 percent increase over the 2017-18 budget. About 43 percent of the budget is allocated toward salaries and benefits for 384 employees.
Departments will have until March 29 to request that new positions be created or to make requests for special projects, Tyler said. The Board of Supervisors ad hoc committee is expected to begin meeting with department heads in May, with plans for an approved recommended budget by June 25.
Budget hearings and adoption of the final budget will be held on Sept. 25.
The Board of Supervisors’ goal is to continue to improve the county’s long-term financial stability through the adoption of sound, forward-looking, sustainable management strategies, and by increasing the efficiency of county government, Tyler said.
The board’s goal is also to invest in the county’s future through the implementation of community and economic development strategies that offer enhanced economic opportunities.
The county’s final budget is subject to change based on the state’s final budget, officials said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a “California for All” budget that provides one-time funding to local governments to build emergency shelters to address homelessness, and funding to improve mental health and provide housing for people with severe mental illness.
Newsom also plans to expand Medi-Cal to young adults age 19 through 25 regardless of immigration status.
The state budget also proposes funding for local governments to invest in emergency readiness, response, and recovery. ■