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Summer Fires Impact Tuolumne County’s Budget

Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County leaders are currently estimating that the Donnell and Ferguson fires will impact revenues by at least $661,000.

During a presentation on the fiscal year budget that started on July 1st, Assistant County Administrator Tracie Riggs stated that the county’s revenue team, which includes the auditor-controller, assessor, tax collector and CAO’s office, is predicting a decrease in sales tax by $331,000 and Transient Occupancy Tax by $330,000. The group has been working with the Visitor’s Bureau as part of the effort to reach out to the lodging industry.

That said, property tax revenue is expected to be up over $800,000 above projections, thanks to a healthy real estate market. Looking at all of the various departments, it is currently estimated that the fiscal year revenue will be about $230,000 over preliminary budget estimates. CAO Craig Pedro recommended that the excess funding be placed into contingencies, as the fire season is still ongoing, and there remains uncertainties. Supervisor Sherri Brennan indicated that she feels the preliminary figures related to the fires are conservative and the county should be prepared for higher numbers.

The board also heard presentations from ATCAA and the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance as both groups are requesting additional budget funding. Today’s agenda item was just informational and a chance for the board to give staff further direction. A vote on the final budget is slated for September.