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Leaders Detail Need To Restructure Tuolumne County Government

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Sonora, CA — Citing that revenues are not keeping pace, the Tuolumne County Supervisors opened two days of public hearings with an overview of the current financial situation.

It was reported earlier that the county has been facing a roughly $3.7 million shortfall, so a restructuring effort is in the planning process, and it will likely result in layoffs. The purpose of the hearings is for department heads to address the board in a transparent manner and define the role and importance of the services. No formal decisions are expected to be made over the next two days, and it is primarily being done to further educate the supervisors about the departments.

CAO Tracie Riggs was the first speaker, who explained that a big part of the budget issues stem from state and federal realignment and reforms.

She says, “We continue to see a decrease from state and federal funding, and while that happens, we are seeing an increase in mandates at that same time….When we hear about realignment and reforms, mostly at the state level, what that means is that they are pushing those services down to the local level.”

She cited an example being prison realignment which has resulted in fewer state prisoners being incarcerated and more demand at local jails.

Riggs added, “Responsibility at the local level to provide services for those that commit crimes continues to increase and that has reduced the flexibility of your board to provide any ancillary programs outside of public safety. That is why we see the majority of the discretionary revenues directed at public safety.”

County Clerk and Auditor Controller Debi Bautisa was the second speaker, who noted, “I feel like I have been saying the same thing for the last three years (Need for spending reductions) It is now time for us to deal with our deficit spending…This is a wonderful process to get to that point.”

Board Chair Karl Rodefer praised staff for putting together the upcoming presentations, and added, “This is not pleasant, and it is not fun. None of us are looking forward to it, and as Ms. Bautisa said, it is necessary.”

You can watch the two day hearings, with all department heads detailing their operations and the importance in the community. They are starting both days at 9am, and can be viewed in the multimedia section of myMotherLode.com. The link is below.

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