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Tuolumne County to Face Budget Shortfall

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Tuolumne County Administrator C. Brent Wallace says the county will face a budget shortfall in the coming year, but he´s not yet sure exactly how big the gap will be. Wallace says his gut feeling is that the county will be several million dollars in the red. But, he adds that he won´t know for sure until the state legislature and Governor Davis decide what to do about the state´s deficit.

Some of the challenges the county faces include possible loss of vehicle license fee revenue from the state, continued financial problems at the county run hospital, and the skyrocketing cost of health insurance.

Administrator Wallace says the county could see 90% increases in health insurance costs, but officials hope to find cheaper alternatives. Also, the county is set to renegotiate several labor contracts, as well as a contract with CDF. Fire protection costs are expected to increase as much as 400% by the year 2006.

County officials are only beginning the long budget process now. The fiscal year ends in June.