Depending on what happens with the state, San Luis Obispo County’s spending plan for the next fiscal year could be really crappy or just kind of crappy.
“It’s another year with the fun state budget follies,” a snarky Supervisor Adam Hill said when presented with the bout of financial squirts the county is facing. “What can we do?”
County officials have sutured an $11.4 million local deficit. The the spending plan does eliminate 32 positions, a majority of which are unfilled, however, some county employees are due to be laid off. With a variety of expenditure cuts and unanticipated revenues, the county is still planning to draw $350,000 from its contingency fund to bring its budget into balance.
Still, the county’s workforce is now at 2,375, roughly the same size it was in the 2002-03 fiscal year. But, as Assistant County Administrator Dan Buckshi explained to county supervisors May 17, the county’s bond rating has been upgraded, landing it among the top five rated counties in the state, as analyzed by Filch Ratings.
And while that’s all well and good, if you take the county’s deficit, multiply it by 10, then add another $25.89 billion, you’ve got roughly the deficit at the state level. With Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revise, local officials have a better idea of the looming state funding cuts, but won’t have an exact picture until Brown’s proposed five-year tax extensions pass or fail on the June ballot.
Without extending such items as the state Vehicle Licensing Fee, SLO County can expect another $2.9 million in lost revenue. Those cuts will come mostly from public safety departments, county officials explained to supervisors. Perhaps most significantly, seven people could be eliminated from the Sheriff’s Department, and there could be cuts to programs that investigate sexual assault, drug sales, and rural crime.
With the expected state spending plan, SLO County should also expect cuts to library services (about $56,000), social services (with reduced benefits to the 2,200 local CalWORKS recipient families), and a 45-percent cut to 1,612 individuals who receive In-Home Supportive Services.