County budget gets go-aheadBy Michelle Durand
The Board of Supervisors tentatively passed a $1.73 billion budget after three days of hearings in which officials reconsidered outsourcing hospital jobs, encouraged speedy building of a new jail and wanted to know if a hiring freeze is having a negative impact.
The budget, balanced with a combination of reserves and cuts across departments, maintained the same $72 million general fund infusion as last year to the San Mateo Medical Center - typically the county's greatest expense and one that County Manager John Maltbie warned could not continue without dire future impact on other needs.
Maltbie, presenting his final budget before retiring, asked the board to have fiscal discipline in an effort to ward off the financial storm of increasing costs and decreasing revenue. The county faces a $93 million structural deficit by 2013 unless actions are taken, Maltbie said.
The budget, which still requires final adoption in September, is $4 million and 12 positions less than last year.
Prior to yesterday's approval of the budget, the supervisors requested staff look at the county's reserve policy after seeing that departments have varying levels of funds.
Supervisor Rich Gordon also asked for a report back on the county's 5 percent vacancy rate to see if it is negatively affecting performance.
Based on pleas by county workers and union representatives Monday, the board took hospital transportation jobs off the chopping block. While the positions are yet to be saved, the county does have enough funds to keep them through the end of September.
The jobs were slated for outsourcing in the budget recommendation presented by CEO Dr. Sang-Ick Sang. Workers told the board others couldn't provide the same level of service and asked officials to continue working with them toward a resolution.
The board will revisit the recommendation at its Aug. 12 meeting. If the board ultimately decides to go with outsourcing, the displaced workers will be found jobs elsewhere in the county.
Copyright ©2008 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 06/26/2008.