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Calaveras Budget May Balance

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San Andreas, CA — The Calaveras county budget is looking better than it did last year. Mid year finances show $2 million in reduced costs compared with last year.

Interim County Administrative Officer John Blacklock says, “What we are seeing, and this is as of December 31st with respect to the current budget, is we are slightly in the black. We were not in the black last year, so things are looking a little better. Some of the indicators, such as consumer confidence, are looking a little better.”

Blacklock says, “We are in a fragile state and national economy. We hope what we are seeing sticks, and actually improves, over the coming year and next year.”

In the past 5 years Calaveras property taxes decreased by $5 million. Blacklock says like last year, General fund departments will not have to layoff anyone. He says delays in hiring people for open positions have saved the county $690,000.

Blacklock listed several areas of concern looking at the coming years budget:

  • The transition into and staffing the new adult detention facility
  • Pending state legislation to implement the Affordable Health Care Act
  • Other federal budget issues such as sequestration. Blacklock says, “We don’t know when that will be resolved or what the impaction will be if sequestration continues.”
  • A continued drop in assessed property value in the county

Finally Blacklock concluded, “Predicting how we are going to step into the final budget is only a projection right now. We hope we are going to end up in the black and that will be a good thing.”

Last year, by the end of the year, Calaveras was in the black. Blacklock says, “that is due to departments, I think, doing a good job holding the line overall on spending and being very watchful of the revenues as well. That’s one area we focus a lot on with departments, encouraging that they go after and secure the various state and federal revenues.  We carry out a lot of state and federal types of programs and we need to really watch the revenue side of the equation as much as the expenditure side because the expenses don’t work if we don’t have the revenues in.”

The preliminary budget is due April 1st.