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Tuolumne County Five Year Forecast Manageable, Except For Roads

Sonora, CA — The Newly released Tuolumne County five year budget forecast was a mix of encouraging information and big trouble for managing county roads.

At the meeting Board Chair and Supervisor for Distric 5 Karl Roderfer said, “I did some quick math from the high point in 2014 to 2017 is a 40 percent loss of federal and state funding for roads. We were in deficit on our road funding back then and costs have gone up considerably. So we need some innovative solutions from our state and federal legislators.”

County Administrator Craig Pedro noted in general the budget starts to get better in the next five years and “that is really good.” Pedro thanked County Administrator Tracie Riggs for presenting the budget noting he was impressed that it improves over the next five years even after fully funding and staffing the new jail. The biggest concern he had was, in the fire fund and road fund, equipment purchases were not addressed. Pedro said, “I don’t know if [over five years] that is sustainable at all.”

Regarding a nearly $2 million road fund shortfall Pedro says, “I think the best we can do right now is to try to find a way to keep our road efforts moving forward. At least try to maintain close to the status quo for at least another year because of the political season that we are in… The roads are going to get worse. So we are just trying to keep the effort where it is and the roads are going to continue to deteriorate at [the projected funding] level.”

The forecast also presented a report from the Tuolumne County Economic Development Association. The 2015 County Economy Highlights listed the new businesses of: Sonora Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep (vehicles began to come in last week) MyCarGuy Inc., Fanucchi Classic Cars, What Cheer and City Hotel, Remax Realty, UV Skins Expansion, Oak Valley Bank-New Branch, Blue Mt Minerals Retention, Groveland Mini iLab, HealthLitNow in Groveland, iPhone Repair, Fiona’s Cafe, a Subway in Big Oak Flat, Dickey’s BBQ Pit, Bourbon Barrel, and Sonora Regional Medical Center has been renovating their emergency department area.

The report listed as upcoming businesses and projects with local economic impact: Rush Creek Lodge, SRMC Medical Pavilion (Cancer Center), Little Roots Toy Shop (open now), the Juvenile Detention Center, New County Jail and Courthouse, Sonora and Summerville High School Bond Measure Projects, and National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) Projects which include the tree mortality task force. A net county cost of $1.3 million was estimated to handle tree mortality with a currently unknown amount of help from state and federal sources who are aware of the financial impact and risks of not addressing the issue.

Overall the budget forecast outlined $43 million that the Board of Supervisors have a say in how it will be used, or about 25% of the $172.5 million budget. Property and sales taxes were projected to grow at an average of 4-5% per year with department revenues remaining essentially flat.

The forecast did point out a positive trend in local housing prizes as seen in the chart below. There were 50% fewer short sales and fewer bank owned home sales in 2015 compared to 2014. The supervisors committed to addressing budget adjustments and priorities in their April meeting.

2014 2015
Median Sales Price $218,000 $225,750
Number of Sales 898 920
Private Sales 759 822
Bank Owned Sales 91 81
Short Sales 48 17
Listings 385 356