help information
78.8 ° F
Full Weather

Budget Debate Today

Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Supervisors meeting room is expected to be packed this afternoon when the Supervisors debate next year’s budget plan.

The county needs to reduce spending by approximately $3 million to balance the budget that will start July 1st. A public hearing will begin at 2:30pm. You can listen in the multimedia section of myMotherLode.com by clicking here.

The following memo regarding the 2013/14 budget proposal was released prior to the meeting by CAO Craig Pedro:


The Community Resource Agency (CRA) Director has been instructed to balance the Road Fund within itself without any change (increase) in the previously planned $750,000 transfer in from the General Fund. Assuming labor concessions can be achieved, a smaller shortfall ($529,000) must be addressed. The department’s initial plan includes:

• Assuming a $99,000 improvement in beginning fund balance
• Assuming a $200,000 improvement in gas tax revenue
• Elimination of 1 vacant road worker position ($36,000)
• Ovetiime and other personnel savings ($36,000)
• Road material and other supply reductions ($117,000)
• Reduction in planned equipment purchases ($41 ,000)

I am concerned with the plan to increase gas tax revenue estimates and have requested that this assumption be revisited. It is my recommendation that approximately $200,000 of the reductions listed above be mitigated by pursuing a change in Tuolumne County Transportation Council (TCTC) policy to allow an annual allocation of federal RSTP Exchange funds directly to the City and County based on population in the same manner it does with Local Transpotiation Funds (LTF). Please note that the Road Fund budget assumes that Congress will approve an extension of the Secure Rural Schools & Communities Self-Determination Act at 75% of the 2012 funding level or $438,000. If Congress does not extend the Act, we will be faced with a $438,000 shortfall in the Road Fund and will need to use General Fund Contingencies to temporarily backfill the loss until an alternate funding solution can be developed.


The Fire Fund will be required to balance its budget with an $89,000 reduction in the transfer in from the General Fund ($438,761 to $350,000). This can be accommodated mainly by net funding the County’s contract with CalFire, increasing specified revenues and acquiring a replacement fire engine through an equipment lease (short term borrowing) rather than through straight cash purchase.


Approximately $1,557,000 will need to be cut from General Fund budgets. To arrive at these reductions, I am following Board direction to not make whole scale departmental eliminations (e.g. Recreation, Libraries, Farm Advisor, etc … ) but to distribute cuts amongst all departments with breaks (reduced budget cut targets) given to stated Board 3 priority areas (i.e. public safety and revenue generating departments). The Board has again identified overtime reduction as a prime goal in order to minimize position and service reductions. Accordingly, there is a special $400,000 allocation for overtime reductions within the Sheriff’s Office.

After taking into account the $89,000 reduction in General Fund transfer to the Fire Fund and $400,000 targeted cut in overtime costs, $1,068,000 in general cuts are being distributed amongst most General Fund cost centers. Department by department reduction targets are outlined on Attachment A. Each department head has been tasked with coming up with their own recommendation as to how to achieve these savings. This process has not yet been completed. The following is a sampling of possible revenue adjustments and/or cuts amongst General Fund departments:

District Attorney ($38,362)

• Delays in hiring vacant Deputy DA positions
• AB 1 09 revenue increase

Public Defender ($15,023)

• Eliminate part-time Office Assistant position and add relief clerical hours

Sheriff/Coroner ($326,299 general cuts + $400,000 overtime cut)

• Overtime reductions ($756,000 in ove1iime expense is currently budgeted)
• $69,000 in equipment/facility cost savings
• Eliminate 1 vacant Dispatcher
• Eliminate 1 vacant Clerk
• Eliminate 4 vacant Deputy Sheriff positions
• AB 1 09 revenue increase

The points outlined above represent a menu of options the Sheriff is considering. Not all of
these actions would be needed to meet the Sheriff’s reduction target.

Probation ($92,101)

• Clerical reorganization ($30,000)
• Reduction in Juvenile Hall contract costs ($36,000)
• AB 1 09 revenue increase

Animal Control ($15,857)

• Eliminate pmi-time Office Assistant and add relief Shelter Attendant hours

Auditor-Controller & Elections ($40,969)

• Delay hiring or elimination of vacant positions in Auditor’s Office
• Reduction in various line-items
• Use HA VA funding to cover staff costs

Treasurer-Tax Collector & Revenue Recovery ($18,489)

• Eliminate part-time Collector position

Assessor-Recorder & Archives ($28,544)

• $18,000 revenue increases
• Reduction in various line-items expenses

CRA ($60,688)

• Eliminate vacant Planner

The CRA Director would like this position to be re-evaluated during the Final Budget
Hearing in September in light of development activity on the horizon at that time.

CAO ($41,194)

• Increased OES revenues/reimbursements
• Reductions in various line-items

Human Resources ($29,612)

• Eliminate new Risk Analyst position (recommendation of Grand Jury)
• Reassigning risk management work and adjusting revenues/charges

Facilities Management ($132,375)

• Eliminate Building Maintenance Supervisor ($82,000) or eliminate a
Groundskeeper and Housekeeper
• Eliminate planned vehicle purchase ($25,000)
• Reduce building maintenance supplies line items

Information Technology ($109,191)

• Eliminate vacant IT Analyst position ($72,000)
• Reduce planned equipment replacements

Ag-Weights & Measures ($21,963)

• $5,000 increase in revenues (charges against Air Pollution budget)
• $16,918 reduction in trapper contract (slightly more than the contract cost increase)
• Various line-item expense reductions

Library ($44,765)

• Reduce pmi-time staffing ($26,000)
• Reduce supply, building improvement and equipment replacement line items

Recreation ($51,120)

• Revenue increases reflecting higher utilization of services ($25,500)
• Reduction in pmi-time salaries ($4,000)
• Decrease in various line-item expenses ($21,620)

Transfers Out ($88,761)

• Reduction in transfer out to the Fire Fund

Depending on final decisions reached with department heads, the actions outlined above
could result in a net reduction of approximately 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. This would have far less impact than the 32 positions that may be eliminated if bargaining is not successful.


This fund’s projected shortfall would be eliminated through a combination of program
reductions (e.g. elimination of toxic collection events) and consideration of adjustments in
disposal rates. Any rate adjustments would need to be considered via a separate public
hearing process.


To balance the projected $50,000 shortfall amongst the Airpmi Funds, the planned expense
related to the FY 2014 Father’s Day Fly-in would need to be either reduced ($15,000) or
eliminated altogether ($25,000) with the remaining $25,000 to $35,000 to be picked up by
the General Fund. I would re-emphasize that the biggest reason for the shmifall in these
funds in FY 2013-14 is the $39,000 increase in A-87 overhead charges which cannot be
altered (reduced).


It is imperative that prior year balances not be heavily relied upon for funding current
operations. In fact, the majority of prior year balances should be placed into contingencies
to help brace against the State realignment revenue raids mentioned previously. Once there
is a clearer picture of the requirements and impacts of health reform, staff will return to
update the Board and amend these budgets accordingly.

Again, the FY 2013-14 Recommended Budget is being constructed with the assumption that
bargaining will be successful-with all of the County’s labor groups. If bargaining is not
successful, additional budget cuts and position reductions will be necessary.

Upon conclusion of the presentation of this item, staff will be looking for Board consensus
to complete preparation of the FY 2013-14 Recommended Budget as generally described
above. Your Board may also desire to direct specific changes be incorporated into the
Recommended Budget document.

If for any reason the Board cannot reach consensus on direction to complete the
Recommended Budget at Tuesday’s meeting, I would respectfully request a special
meeting be held no later than June 11 so a balanced Recommended Budget can be prepared
for adoption on June 18.