Sonoma supes to approve 2009-2010 budget

May 10, 2009 2:18:10 PM PDT
Sonoma County's Board of Supervisors is scheduled to approve a $1.3 billion total 2009-2010 budget Tuesday that calls for cutting 149 positions, 104 of which are currently filled.

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The general fund operating budget is $424 million.

County Administrator Bob Deis said 80 positions and nearly $12 million can be added back into the budget if additional revenue becomes available.

Those positions are mostly in public safety, criminal justice and health and human services functions, Deis said.

The 2009-2010 budget deficit initially was estimated to be $21.4 million but the supervisors cut $10.4 million from the budget on April 7 through an across the board five percent cut in the general fund.

On April 14 Deis estimated the deficit was increasing by another $5.2 million, so Deis said he chose not to budget $4.5 million for salary cost of living increases. Any such increases approved by the board would have to be financed separately, Deis said.

Deis is now estimating the $424 million general fund operating budget's deficit in 2009-2010 is $11.7 million.

The proposed budget is balanced, however, by relying on roughly $24 million of fund balance estimated to be available at the end of the current fiscal year June 30, Deis said.

Deis said the proposed budget comes during a "worldwide downturn whose size and scope is greater than any we have seen in our working careers."

The $424 million general fund budget does not include the general reserve fund and accumulated capital outlay funds, Deis said.

The deficit in the 2010-2011 budget is already estimated to be $33.6 million and $46 million in fiscal year 2011-2012, Deis said.

State and federal revenues, $327 million, for county operating funds are expected to be flat even after considering federal stimulus money, Deis said.

"Once again most state and federal programs are not receiving increased on-going funding to cover the increased costs of local administration," Deis said.

Local sales taxes are down four percent from the current year budget and total interest earnings are down 2 percent from fiscal year 2008-2009, Deis said.

Next year's budget does not contain a cost of living adjustment for most employees and reflects reductions in employee health insurance and a phased reduction for some retiree health plans, Deis said.

Tax revenue contributes 48 percent to the $424 million general fund and state and federal revenue contributes 23.5 percent.

Fifty-percent of the $424 million general fund expenses go toward justice services and 23.4 percent pay for administration and fiscal services. Health and Human Services comprise 12.8 percent of the general fund budget expenses.

The county started its 2009-2010 budget planning about two months ahead of time and hearings on the budget are scheduled for early June instead of August. The board must approve the proposed budget by July 20 and a final budget by Oct. 2.

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