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Tuolumne County’s Budget Hit Hard By COVID-19

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Sonora, CA — In addition to dealing with the ongoing health pandemic, Tuolumne County leaders are bracing for a sharp decline in sales and transient occupancy tax revenue.

Looking ahead to next fiscal year, Tuolumne County had already been anticipating a $3.5-million shortfall of revenue after the tax measures P and Q failed to gain support during the March primary election.

CAO Tracie Riggs says, “At this point, and these are purely projections, we are estimating that we now may need to make anywhere from $6-7-million in cost reductions next year.”

Riggs notes that she warned last year that if the tax measures failed, and if something catastrophic happened to the economy, then it could be “catastrophic to the budget and services the county provides.”

The county is also looking at the strong possibility of having to move over reserve funds during the current budget year which runs through June 30. There could be an estimated 25-percent reduction in TOT dollars, due to a lack of tourism, equaling around $1.2 million dollars, and sales tax is also expected to be down.

Riggs notes that there are no layoffs planned in the short-term for the current fiscal year.

Riggs will give a detailed presentation about the status of county finances at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting, and the board will give direction on strategies moving forward. Riggs adds that the board is also considering having more weekly meetings, over the coming months, rather than bi-weekly, to address the pending budget matters. She says the public will have a chance to tune in, and voice opinions, throughout the process.