Board of Supervisors Adopt Balanced Budget
Source: County of Santa Barbara
Yesterday, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors adopted a balanced budget of $1.081 billion for Fiscal Year 2017-18 (FY 17-18). This number reflects an increase of $1.8 million due to revised assessed growth rate as reported by the County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder Joe Holland during the budget hearings. Overall, the total operating revenues of $1.081 billion grew by 6 percent over the previous year’s budget. Staffing levels were reduced by 178 budgeted full-time positions, not all currently filled.
“This budget reflects a balance among high priorities of the Board, necessary cost reductions and awareness of future shortfalls,” said County Executive Mona Miyasato. “This budget also shifts more ongoing, discretionary revenue to social services and mental health services than in the prior year.”
The adopted balanced budget reflects about $28.5 million in ongoing service level reductions. County departments were affected differently, with some facing little to minimal impacts, while others faced more significant changes depending on the nature of departments’ funding sources for these services and type of operations. The largest reductions affect the processing of state and federally-funded benefits, such as CalFresh, CalWORKS and Medi-Cal programs within the Department of Social Services. The County’s cost of delivering those services is exceeding available revenue from the state and federal governments.
Prior to today’s budget deliberations, the recommended budget had unallocated funds of $1.4 million in ongoing and $3.07 million in one-time money. Those balances went primarily to fund public safety, health and human services, and restoring 9.75 full time employees (FTEs). Of that, CalFresh received ongoing funds of $500,000; while one-time funding went to courts security ($300,000); the Isla Vista foot patrol ($475,000); libraries ($360,000); and Goleta Beach received $567,000 for Coastal Commission compliance and permitting. (Editorial Note: This is detailed in Attachment E of the FY 17-18 Adopted Budget: http://countyofsb.org/ceo/
Third District County Supervisor and Board Chair Joan Hartmann lauded her fellow Supervisors and County staff for all of their work on achieving an on-time and balanced budget saying, “This budget agreement is the culmination of leadership from the CEO’s office in coordination with all the department heads. We all had difficult decisions to make and staff worked tirelessly to incorporate Board priorities and work within the challenges of this year’s budget climate. I want to commend my Board colleagues and County staff, particularly CEO Mona Miyasato, County Counsel Mike Ghizzoni and County Budget Director Jeff Frapwell for their efforts on our budget.”
The County is facing continued budget challenges over the next four to five years due to several factors including uncertain state and federal revenues; ongoing demand to increase funding for public safety and mental health; and a commitment to continue funding Board priorities and paying down our unfunded pension liability.
“Even with the challenges facing the County, we are able to continue funding the Board’s priorities,” said County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato. “Those priorities include funding the Northern Branch Jail, scheduled to open in 2019, continuing to provide more funding to the Fire District, increased funding for deferred maintenance, and maintaining commitments to employees through our labor agreements. In addition, we are committed to financial plans to pay down unfunded pension liabilities, while incurring very little debt.”
“More than 70 percent of County revenue is restricted for specified services, leaving less than 30 percent of the budget for discretionary spending on Board priorities,” explained Budget Director Jeff Frapwell. “Increasing expenditure demands are outpacing revenues.”
The budget process began in late 2016 leading up to budget workshops in April, which provided the Board and the public with an early opportunity to discuss the departments’ proposed budgets, special issues, staffing plans, accomplishments, work objectives, service levels and budget enhancement requests.
Miyasato added, “I want to thank everyone who has been involved in putting this budget together, starting with the Board for their guidance and to all of the department heads, their leadership teams, and particularly their fiscal officers.”
To review the FY 17-18 Adopted Balanced Budget documents, go to http://www.countyofsb.org/ceo/