For the second year in a row, Sacramento County’s budget appears to be on the up and up.
After making adjustments to the $3.6 billion dollar budget proposed in June, the county is now operating in the black. Years of cost-saving measures have yielded a $32.5 million surplus. The county plans to use it to pay down debt and restore services that had been cut because of the economic downtown.
County Executive Bradley J. Hudson is thrilled. “I’m happy to report that we have discretionary funds to invest in our community and to address the Board’s service priorities,” said Hudson. “Because the departments held the line on expenses we’re beginning to recover from the impact of the Great Recession.”
For the past several years, Sacramento County executives have worked to reduce internal service costs, remained vigilant in managing budgets and expenditures, worked towards efficiency initiatives and controlled personnel costs. According to Hudson’s letter to the Board of Supervisors, departments have reduced their costs by 26% since 2008.
Of the $3.6 billion dollar budget, less than $500 million is discretionary. Hudson is recommending that staff reinstate programs, pay back loans and build up contingency funds.
Specifically, the Board of Supervisors is being asked to allocate funding the in the following amounts:
- Contingency Funds: $2.2 M
- Loan Repayment: $11.7M
- Sheriff’s Office: $4.9 M
- Investment in services, including parks, code enforcement, supervision of drug offenders, District Attorney, Public Health to address communicable diseases and Animal Care: $4.5 M
- Health and Human Services to backfill state budget cuts: $6.5 M
County officials certainly have something to celebrate, but Hudson remains cautiously optimistic.
“Sacramento still faces significant fiscal challenges including increased pension costs, negotiated salary and benefit obligations, repaying $59 million in past internal borrowing, and replacing funding taken by the State for the Affordable Care Act, said Hudson. “We also need to backfill about $21 million in one-time resources used to balance previous budgets.”
“It’s important to take the long view, and we’re going to need four to five percent annual growth in discretionary revenue over the next five years to stay fiscally healthy; last year’s growth was less than one percent,” Hudson added. “We’ll continue to focus on streamlining services, increasing efficiency through the use of technology and holding down costs.”
Sacramento County Supervisors are expected to hear presentations on the budget this afternoon.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Hudson added. “The next few years will continue to be rocky as the economy continues its slow recovery.”