Placer County Draft Budget Cuts $19 Million Off Prior Budget
Auburn, Calif. – The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a draft, balanced budget of $796.5 million for the next fiscal year, $19.3 million less than last year’s final budget of $815.8 million.
The budget maintains critical services, helps meet future obligations and positions the county to adapt to foreseeable funding and policy changes at the federal and state levels of government.
The county’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The proposed budget will serve as the interim spending plan when the new fiscal year begins July 1. The board is scheduled to adopt a final budget with updated revenue and expenditure figures in September.
In a presentation to the board, Placer County Deputy County Executive Officer Kate Sampson highlighted several indicators of the healthy economy currently enjoyed in the county, including improved property values, an increase in transient occupancy tax collections from a good snow year and a modest uptick in sales tax revenue.
Despite healthy revenue increases, escalating costs for CalPERS retirement and healthcare obligations, among other emerging needs, are keeping pace with those increases.
“While it is true that some revenue sources are increasing, such as a bump in transient occupancy tax over last year, the county’s operational costs are rising at an even faster rate,” said Chairwoman and District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. “We’re seeing an essentially flat budget, but higher costs, and therefore services could start getting squeezed. So, it’s important that we recognize this is going to be a challenge in the future, and we should be mindful about planning for that.”
The 2017-18 proposed budget:
- Furthers the countywide response to homelessness and affordable housing efforts, narrowing the gap between county services and the homeless population through the Whole Person Care grant and Sutter Health funding and addressing the lack of affordable workforce housing in all our communities.
- Addresses long-term financial obligations by fully funding annual required contributions for both CalPERS pension liabilities as well as employee medical, dental and vision benefits. As expenses for employee retirement benefits are expected to sharply increase in the near future, the county is taking measures to pay down accrued retiree healthcare and pension liabilities.
- Continues the implementation of the Criminal Justice Master Plan, helping to expand the South Placer Adult Correctional Facility campus by opening 180 beds and building a booking station, opening an arraignment court and planning for the construction of an acute mental health annex. It also funds further exploration of a proposed crime lab and coroner’s facility.
- Advances environmental sustainability, setting aside $1.25 million to finalize the Placer County Conservation Plan, a progressive and proactive strategy for identifying where development should preferably occur while preserving important natural and agricultural resources.
- Focuses on development of several key initiatives such as the proposed Sunset Area Plan, Placer Parkway, Placer County Government Center Plan and adopted Tahoe Basin Area Plan. Each of these major planning efforts help Placer County achieve economic development goals to preserve and increase Placer County’s consistently top-ranked quality of life.
- Helps ensure all nine Placer County Libraries, plus a bookmobile, remain open at current service levels by adding several positions with an additional $820,000, and provides $225,000 to restore collections that were curtailed during the recession.
- Board members expressed concern over the rising costs of fire services and employee pension and benefit obligations and encouraged staff to further explore long-term options to address their likely budget impacts.