Budget pitches go to the board

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

After several Calaveras County department heads recited their financial wish lists to supervisors yesterday afternoon, only one thing remained certain.

"Not everybody's going to get what they want," Board Chairman Paul Stein said.

Supervisors held an hour-long study session to hear budget proposals for departments largely supported by the county general fund.

No department head requested a monumental sum. And Stein praised the administrators for being "frugal."

However, given the state's bleak budget, Stein made it clear that even small requests may go unfunded.

The county faces a budget shortfall of approximately $850,000, said County Administrative Officer Tom Mitchell. And that does not include the requests for new positions and equipment made yesterday.

To fill that shortfall, the county could use money from a $3.2 million cash carryover from last year's budget, Mitchell said. Or it could cut department budgets.

Among requests made yesterday:

? Assessor Randy Metzger asked for more than $8,000 to promote four of his employees. He also wants to hire a clerical worker.

? Building Official Ray Waller citing "record" growth rates in Calaveras County last fiscal year asked for $24,000 to promote two employees, hire a new inspector and buy a new vehicle for his staff. "Construction is going through the roof, and we need help," Waller said.

? Agricultural Commissioner Jearl Howard wants more than $35,000 to hire two temporary workers and buy a new vehicle and new equipment, including a machine that tests the air for certain vapors.

? Howard, also the director of Animal Control, said the shelter will soon need a new roof, new pipes, outdoor lighting and a perimeter fence.

? District Attorney Jeff Tuttle said his office needs an extra $23,000. Of that, Tuttle said $14,000 would pay for psychological experts to evaluate the mental state of Peter Chiesa the Wallace man accused of murdering two of his neighbors last summer.

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The Union Democrat
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