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CAO Forecasts Tough Budget Times Ahead For Tuolumne County

Sonora, CA — Revenues from sales and property taxes are on the decrease in Tuolumne County, and CAO Craig Pedro is estimating that the 2009/10 General Fund Budget will face a $5.2 million deficit.

At Tuesday’s Supervisorial meeting, Pedro recommended that the County curtail unnecessary spending through year-end and freeze all hiring until the new budget is developed.

Many “quality of life” services may be cut in the next year as the County looks to make sure that basic services such as public safety are covered.

Pedro is asking that the Board of Supervisors look into the idea of pursuing an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax, and “ensure that visitors to Tuolumne County help pay for the services they utilize.” The next time that this type of ballot measure could be considered by the voters is June of 2010.

Pedro is recommending that the County look to eliminate services that the private sector is able to provide. An example pointed out is the Home Health and Hospice services provided by VNA. He says similar services are offered by private parties in the community.

He is also challenging County leaders and bargaining groups on the issue of salaries. Pedro says he will commit to donating back to the County the equivalent of 15 furlough days in fiscal year 2009/10, and pledge not to cash out any personal leave he is entitled to during that period. To the extent that bargaining groups are willing to do something greater, he says he is willing to exceed or match the actions.

Written by bjhansen@mlode.com