The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors approved a final budget on Tuesday, though the supervisors still have a handful of budget-related decisions to make in the coming weeks.
With Supervisors Evan Royce and John Gray absent, the board voted 3-0 to approve the final county budget. The $135 million spending plan is different than the initial budget proposed in June by County Administrator Craig Pedro and includes about 9.5 county positions that faced elimination and layoffs in the original proposed budget.
“While this budget is balanced … we still have some rough waters ahead,” Pedro said, later adding the board needs to “walk cautiously as we talk about allocating additional dollars.”
The budget approved on Tuesday does not include a number of possible expenditures that the board will consider in the coming months. It does not yet fund a jail commander position, as Pedro said the county Sheriff’s Office is looking to see if it can be funded through state prison realignment money.
The board also held off on deciding whether to approve a request from the Central Sierra Arts Council for $75,000 in annual funding.
And supervisors are still considering a request from the Groveland Community Services District for $40,000 in additional property tax revenue as the district looks to contract with Cal Fire for local fire protection.
This budget season has not been easy for the county, as Pedro in June announced that computer-based projections of county revenues in the General Fund would likely be short by about $2 million. The General Fund is the county’s largest government fund and includes most administrative and public safety departments.
The County Administrator’s Office has been working since then on changes to the budget, as the Board of Supervisors directed Pedro and county staff to reconsider proposed cuts to the county sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices.
June’s proposed budget eliminated four sheriff’s deputy positions, a deputy county counsel, a full-time position in the DA’s office, an animal control officer, a building inspector and facilities manager, which were re-inserted into the budget approved on Tuesday.
The final budget also includes two additional jail officers and three probation officers funded through state prison realignment money.
Pedro said the budget is still “very constrained,” and he warned about using more than $720,000 in one-time revenue streams to cover ongoing expenditures — something the final budget does that the initial plan did not.
“That’s not a good place to be,” Pedro said. “If we didn’t see that money occur next year, we would have a hole in our budget.”