San Mateo County adopts $1.7B budgetBy Michelle Durand
County supervisors adopted a nearly $1.7 billion budget yesterday after adding back a half-million dollars to maintain food preparation at a juvenile camp, reimburse welfare reductions and restore funding for a Daly City nonprofit.
The Board of Supervisors may give the Health System up to $10 million before the final budget adoption in September but first wants to see a list of critical services.
The board initially considered using $558,300 to rehire four deputy probation officers but opted to wait until the fall when the state budget is clearer.
"The reality is, come September, we're probably going to have to do more eliminations," said Supervisor Adrienne Tissier.
Supervisor Carole Groom disagreed, calling it "a good use of our money."
The board also shied away from cutting $772,000 for homework centers and the Jobs for Youth program. They will be funded in part with $270,000 from non-departmental reserves and $195,000 from capital projects.
The final budget, hammered out after three days of hearings by department heads, includes a general fund $17 million larger than last year despite hefty cuts across departments that led to trimmed services and layoffs. The budget was balanced with the $36 million in program reductions but also $90 million in reserves.
"I don't necessarily think it's a budget any of us relish adopting," said Board President Rich Gordon.
The county is also trying to eliminate a structural deficit which could climb to $150 million within five years without action.
Employee expenses are behind the 1.5 percent budget hike and department after department referenced the cost of personnel benefits and retirement - $3.5 million in salary increases and $46 million in benefits increases collectively.
Despite the relative somberness of presenting budgets rife with cuts and challenges, the department presentations were generally devoid of pleas for more money. In fact, funding that was added back - money for partnering with a Daly City nonprofit, for example - was often at the suggestion of the supervisors themselves.
At the end of Wednesday, the budget included $1,023,300 in add backs:
- $100,000 to the Human Services Agency for the Daly City Collaborative;
- $200,000 in Human Services Agency reserves to restore reductions in general assistance;
- $365,000 to restore food service, including two cooks, at Camp Glenwood;
Final approval will be made in late September, by which time the board will hear updates on requested items and have a clearer understanding of what state budgetary decisions will roll down hill to the county's coffers.
The May revise is estimated to leech $116 million in programs and services from San Mateo County but local officials do not believe every recommendation will come to pass. The state Legislature is currently hashing out its budget.
In September, the board also requested an updated list of consultants, an analysis of how much the county might recover by employing another property appraiser and a report on the ratio of management to staff in the Human Resources Department. The board will also look at is memberships and contributions, an inventory of school-based partnerships, a cost-benefit analysis of electronic monitoring for the Probation Department and other after-hours security options for the Youth Services Center.
Copyright ©2010 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 06/24/2010.