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By H. Randolph Holder


Tuolumne County was projecting a $1.6-million deficit about a month ago, but they have since passed a balanced preliminary budget. That’s the good news. However, the Board of Supervisors continues to spend money they don’t have; notably $100,000 on a “social media consultant” whose sole purpose is to inform an apathetic constituency of Board actions on their behalf, better accomplished with free press releases. And now, the Board of Supervisors has agreed pay $259,000 to study the largely abandoned county hospital. The company will conduct structural evaluations, look at various options, and provide cost estimates. Even if they can rent part of it out sometime in the distant future, the county will never recoup this money or the rehab costs of earthquake retrofit or bringing the decrepit building up to code creating usable space. This is the same issue the City of Sonora faces with the Dome. It’s unfortunate, but sadly true with today’s strict building codes and high costs of compliance that these buildings are NOT assets, they are liabilities.