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Supervisors finalize county budget

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Calaveras County's $71.8 million budget is complete, balanced and ready for adoption.

In yesterday's second and final day of budget hearings, county supervisors trimmed away a $481,000 deficit and came up with a 2003-04 spending plan that is $6.6 million up from last year's.

But Board of Supervisors Chairman Paul Stein warned taxpayers not to be fooled by the larger budget. This is still a tough year, he said, considering the state's ongoing fiscal crisis.

Most of the extra spending in the proposed budget is from a near-$1.5 million increase in community development block grants and a $4.9 million withdrawal from the county's solid waste trust fund.

Stein said he appreciated having $3.5 million left over from last year.

"It made our jobs of balancing this budget a lot easier than it could have been in this really difficult year," he said.

Supervisors could vote to adopt the final budget Monday, Sept. 22.

To wipe out the deficit, supervisors trimmed $71,000 from the general fund, cut $110,000 in funding for office relocations and new furniture, and deferred repaying the state $300,000 that an audit says it owes.

This year's general fund budget is about $29 million.

Supervisors stopped short of denying close to $34,000 in requests for raises and promotions. Instead, administrators will review the list and rate the requests.

To save money, supervisors also added only new positions that are funded by state and federal dollars.

For example, Calaveras Works and Human Services will get a new Medi-Cal and Medicaid specialist, but state grants will pay for that position.

The Department of Environmental Health also gets a new position, and the Department of Agriculture got the green light to contract with an independent trapper. Calaveras Works and Human Services has permission to add three workers, including the insurance specialist, to its staff.


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