San Andreas, CA -– With the county’s fiscal year winding up Friday the Calaveras supervisors made hay over a 12-plus hour meeting during which they checked off the chore of adopting a finalized budget.
Under county law the board was required to formally adopt one by June 30. The new budget, totaling $155,762,205.87 for the next fiscal year, balances all county funds as submitted with a general fund contingency of $466,913, comprising one percent of the fund’s appropriations. It took several sessions last week that were scheduled for budget hearings and fine tuning during which the board provided a good bit of input to the initial recommended budget proposed by County Administrative Officer (CAO) Tim Lutz (reported here).
Lutz subsequently logged hours of follow up time with department heads, identifying additional ways to reduce expenditures and accurately forecast costs. He, District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli and District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills additionally sat down with sheriff’s officials Sheriff Rick DiBasilio and Captain Jim Macedo after they vocalized alarm over their already stretched budget and too-slim staff keenly feeling dire effects somewhat akin to death by a thousand cuts.
Personnel Additions, Sheriff’s Request Approvals
The final budget added six new positions. Notably among these are a county-dedicated Economic and Community Development Director as well as an Office of Emergency Services (OES) Director and Coordinator; the latter posts are due to plans to shift that department from the Sheriff’s Office to County Administration. Other staffing moves mostly involved relocating, reshifting and reclassifying existing positions as the board plans addressing the county’s longer-term financial planning and visioning during a board retreat later this summer.
The Sheriff’s Office also got the nod to replace its all but obsolete civil administration system (CAS) system for under $50,000. Developed by Sirron Corporation nearly two decades ago, it has reportedly become a hindrance to the counties still saddled with it. According to Sheriff DiBasilio, others that have migrated over Teleosoft’s Sheriff CountySuite, developed in Sacramento County a few years ago, include Amador, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. Two funds within the Sheriff’s Office will be tapped to pay for the associated costs.
The supervisors also gave the nod for the sheriff to accept a donation of over $16,000 in bicycles and other related equipment from Friends of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office (FOCCSO) to enable the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office in its plans for reinstituting its bicycle patrol program.
Transportation, Tourism Items
The supes also authorized the purchase of a temporary bridge span from Acrow Bridge that will enable reopening the Blagen Road (Main Street) crossing over Big Trees Creek in White Pines following severe winter storm damage; the amount not to exceed $89,000. At the board’s May 23 meeting it moved to cover the cost via a Teeter funds transfer to public works and directed staff to seek grant or reimbursement funding.
After convening a public hearing to consider Calaveras Transit system changes to improve the farebox recovery ratio, the supervisors voted to eliminate the Delta Gold Line transit service between Calaveras County and Stockton as of July 28 due to low ridership. It also opted to support weekly operation of the Saturday Hopper over the new fiscal year within the limits of available funding.
Submitting to a request issued by a few of the supervisors last week in the heat of the budget hearings, Calaveras County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lisa Boulton provided a presentation illustrating the county’s return on investment as it relates to the bureau’s operations, accountabilities and deliverables.
Other Actions Of Note
In other business, the board approved sending a letter supporting Congressman Tom McClintock’s call for the USFS to expedite the reopening of forest service roads under repair, due to their recreational and tourism importance. In another communication, sent to Mother Lode lawmaker Frank Bigelow, the board vocalized the county’s opposition to AB 1250, which has the potential to prohibit a number of county contracts covering critical services delivered through nonprofit agencies that the local government cannot provide on its own.
Too, the supervisors issued a proclamation thanking and recognizing the achievements of recent Bret Harte High School graduate, Eagle Scout and athletic scholar Ryan Heryford of Murphys for numerous achievements while assisting with community and school-related service work; among these was recently planning and constructing a 60-foot pedestrian foot bridge across Murphys Creek.