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Stanislaus County Unveils Proposed Budget
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The Stanislaus County Chief Executive Office has released the county’s proposed budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The proposed budget will serve as an interim spending plan for Stanislaus County operations until a final budget for 2009-2010 is adopted in September. A public hearing on the 2009-2010 proposed budget has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9 to be continued if necessary on June 10 and 11 at 9 a.m. for the Board of Supervisors to adopt a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The proposed budget recommended by the Chief Executive Officer totals $955,114,155. This is an overall decrease of $11,424,902 from the final budget for 2008-2009, representing a 1 percent decrease compared to last fiscal year.

As the start of the 2009-2010 fiscal year approaches, the growing caution with which began the 2008-2009 year has increased to the level of significant concern over the worsening economy and public funding shortfalls in the State of California.

Compounding the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis, the local economy has taken dramatic downturns. The local community has one of highest rates of foreclosure in the nation; rapidly declining home prices; increasing unemployment, now over 17.5 percent; unprecedented reductions in local discretionary revenues including property and sales taxes; significant reductions in public services at the county and city levels; significant reductions in building activity and significant increases in residents seeking aid and assistance.

Earlier this spring, the county projected a $34 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year 2009-2010, without any additional reductions from the state budget crisis. Significant additional state reductions are likely, threatening the provision of basic local government services. Some of the most significant challenges are listed below:

• Unprecedented reductions of 10 percent in discretionary revenue, which is down by $16.2 million from 2008-2009 final budget – reduction in property taxes of 12 percent, sales tax of 8 percent and public safety sales tax of 11 percent.

• Retirement costs will be slightly reduced in 2009-2010 but will be significantly higher in 2010-2011 and beyond.

• Significant reductions are also occurring in dedicated revenues sources such as realignment, which supports Community Services Agency, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, and Health Services Agency.

• Departmental revenues are also projected to be down $3 million, reflecting the worsening economy.

While a balanced budget is presented to the board for approval, the county has recommended the use of $8 million a year for the next three years in order to mitigate anticipated funding shortfalls.

As part of the proposed budget significant changes to staffing occurred. The total allocated positions are now 4,005 down from the 2008-2009 final budget number of 4,459. The decreases recommended in the proposed budget along with various changes in staffing that occurred throughout the 2008-2009 fiscal year account for the decrease of 454 allocated positions.  As part of the 2009-2010 proposed budget there are 14 filled positions recommended for reductions in force, six vacant positions for deletion and 297 vacant positions that will be unfunded and unallocated. In addition, 10 departments will be participating in furloughs ranging from eight days up to the maximum of 13 days.

The Stanislaus County 2009-2010 proposed budget is available for public review. It can be viewed at the Board of Supervisors Office of the County of Stanislaus at 1010 10th St., Suite 6500 in Modesto. It is also available on the County’s web site, or at any of the 13 libraries located throughout Stanislaus County.