County Supervisors Adopt Balanced Budget
Source: County of Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara County Fiscal Year 2018-19 Recommended Balanced Budget of $1.105 billion was adopted by the Board of Supervisors [Monday]. Overall, the operating budget reflects an increase of 2.5 percent over the prior year.
Key funding items included resources for recovery from the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow disasters; enhanced public safety services such as dispatch and jail operations; greater maintenance of County roads, parks and buildings; and implementing a cannabis regulatory program and proactive enforcement effort.
In the adopted budget, staffing levels increased by 84.9 budgeted full time equivalent positions, primarily reflecting additional staff for the Northern Branch Jail. During the deliberations, the Board also funded a Deputy Probation Officer for the supervision of sex offenders and an Energy and Sustainability Initiatives (ESI) team project leader.
Prior to today’s budget deliberations, the recommended budget had unallocated funds of $376,200 in ongoing use and $3.760 million in one-time money due to anticipated cannabis tax revenue. Those balances went primarily to fund deferred maintenance for County roads, parks and infrastructure; libraries; strategic reserve; and long-term planning initiatives, such as the extension of Union Valley Parkway near Santa Maria and solar and energy plans. Libraries received a total of $200,000 in additional funds to assist struggling smaller branches.
Following publication of the Recommended Budget and the Board’s budget workshops in April, voters passed the cannabis tax ballot measure and the Governor released the May Revision to his proposed state budget. The May Revision provides $4.4 million in one-time funding to backfill the County’s property tax losses incurred because of the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow. The Board assigned these funds and an additional $1.5 million to repay $5.9 million of the $6.3 million pulled from the Strategic Reserve earlier this year for disaster response activities.
County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato said, “The Board adopted a balanced budget with no layoffs, few service reductions, replenishment of reserves, and increased maintenance funding, while continuing a commitment to long standing priorities like the Northern Branch Jail and fire district funding. In this budget, they also were able to allocate more funding to libraries, public safety needs and environmental initiatives.”
Miyasato added, “This budget represents resiliency and renewal. With our recovery efforts, we are developing a resilient organization to withstand future disasters. We also are entering the second year of Renew ’22, an initiative to build a more vibrant, agile and financially sustainable organization to serve the Board and our communities’ highest priorities.”
The budget process began in fall 2017 and led up to budget workshops held in April, which provided the Board and the public with an early opportunity to discuss preliminary department budgets, special issues, staffing plans, accomplishments, work objectives, service levels and budget enhancement requests.
“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 and their leadership teams, particularly their fiscal officers, and the fiscal and budget staff from my office,” said Miyasato.