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Calaveras Looking To Eliminate $9-Million Structural Budget Deficit

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San Andreas, CA — Calaveras County in recent years has been operating with a structural budget deficit, meaning that total expenses outpace the projected annual fixed revenue.

All counties are required to have a balanced budget at the end of the fiscal year, so the financial holes have been filled with things like one-time (non-reoccurring revenues), and better than anticipated returns from sources like sales and TOT revenues (One-time dollars can be things like state and federal grants targeted at specific areas)

It was noted at this week’s board of supervisors meeting that the current fiscal year structural deficit is around $ 9.9-million (The overall operating budget is projected to be $ 202 million).

The issue was brought up for discussion by board Chair Amanda Folendorf. Supervisor Jack Garamendi quickly chimed in by making the analogy, “As a guy who has a ranch that is covered with baling wire and duct tape, sometimes it is good to just sink a new post.”

Garamendi then asked the board to give interim CAO Craig Pedro direction to “dig into this (budget), and set things straight.” Garamendi further argued that the county must, “Sink a new post so that we can get the fence straight.”

Supervisors Benjamin Stopper and Gary Tofanelli strongly agreed that the structural deficit is a big problem and something they would like to see urgently addressed.

It was noted that there are employee salary increases already approved over the next five years and economic concerns related to things like inflation.

Structural deficits were often brought up, and targeted, by Pedro while he was the CAO in Tuolumne County. Upon being hired in Calaveras, Pedro told the supervisors that he did not want to just come over and “keep the car running and polished.” Adding at this week’s meeting, “This (eliminating structural deficit) is something that I see as essential to the financial health of the county and will put you on a good sound footing as you try to grow, and do better things yet, in Calaveras County government.”

Pedro referred to the change in direction by the board as a “new day” in Calaveras County government.

It could result in tough decisions and cuts on the horizon (potentially a reduction in services or positions), as the county looks to reign in spending. With the direction given to Pedro, the county is planning to have a public hearing on the budget on September 27. It was noted that last year’s structural deficit was also over $ 9 million.