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State Budget has Tuolumne County Tightening its Belt

Now that a state budget is in place, Tuolumne County officials say the local government is running on $1 million less than last fiscal year.

Administrator C. Brent Wallace told the county board of supervisors Tuesday that his staff waited until the legislature struck a budget deal before putting local numbers together.

“We waited until the very last moment to put anything together,” he said. “There´s always a mistaken belief on our part that something good is going to happen up there.”

County Assistant Auditor/Controller Debi Russell told supes Tuesday this “will not be a pretty year.” She said all county departments are being asked to cut back spending until December. That´s when California´s 58 counties receive property tax payments from the state. Officials here are hoping they can avoid having the county general fund in the red before that time.

Suggestions from the board for fixing the county´s money problems include raising some fees, borrowing to pay the bills, and re-opening contracts with some unions that represent county employees.

The board will adopt a final budget later this month. A preliminary budget which includes some layoffs and some cuts in services has already been approved.