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Calaveras Supes To Discuss Budget Carving Due To COVID-19 Impacts

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San Andreas, CA – Along with COVID-19 related matters the Calaveras supes will be addressing related financial impacts as they begin FY 2020-21 budget discussions.

As Board Chair Merita Callaway explains, “We will be getting an overview on Tuesday, sort of from the 10,000-foot level.” The hearings are slated to begin June 9 and the board is legally required to pass a balanced budget by the end of the month.

While Prop 172 funding, TOT and sales tax revenues are expected to be down, Callaway shares that the county treasurer indicates that the latest collection of property taxes due in early April are slightly ahead from last year. Revenues from this source make up a major portion of how government services are funded.

“The taxes were not postponed…and she reported the county had received 93 percent of the property taxes,” Callaway shares. “Last year at this time it was 92 percent. That is saying that people are paying their property taxes.”

She continues, “I am sure like Tuolumne, we are tracking all our expenses for COVID-19 so at some point are going to submit the documentation to get reimbursed. But that is not part of our budget…our position is that if you don’t have the money in the bank you can’t spend it based on it might come in.”

In addition to reserves and contingencies, the county has its Teeter Fund, kind of a “rainy day” funding pot. Based on late tax payments and the interest on them, it will undoubtedly be more meager. “Many treasurers, and I am assuming ours too, have become very liberal with not charging people late payments [now]…trying to work with people…waiving the late fee,” she acknowledges.

While she admits the board is bracing for belt-tightening times, Callaway remembers being a supervisor back in 2009 during some of the county’s leanest times in recent memory.

“We were doing substantial layoffs and cuts and it had a lot to do with [low] property tax [revenues]…people were losing their homes back then…and General Fund is mostly property tax, TOT, and sales tax and other little funds that come in.”

She says the balance has not tipped nearly to that point, but the board plans to navigate a prudent and conservative course, emphasizing, “We are not going to be budgeting for money we do not have, i.e. ‘reimbursements’ for COVID-19.”

Although there are still discussions underway as to what else will be on next Tuesday’s board agenda, Callaway says a COVID-19 update from Public Health will definitely be included.

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