$65.2 million budget wins nod

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Calaveras County's 2002-03 budget has some good news and some bad news.

The Board of Supervisors has put its stamp of approval on the $65.2 million budget.

"This budget session was interesting," Board of Supervisors Chairman Merita Callaway said. "We thought it would be all doom and gloom, but it was just gloom."

Partly because of a $24 billion shortfall in the state budget, the county expects to have even less money next year than it did this year the gloomy forecast.

The upcoming year's county budget reflects a weak state economy. County consumer spending including sales tax revenues, timber taxes, Proposition 172 taxes and sewage system application fees is expected to drop by $57,950.

On the other hand, the county's assessment roll, building fees, property transfer taxes, transient occupancy taxes and surveyor fees are projected to increase by $521,859 through the next year all indicators that the county is attracting new tourists and full-time residents.

The General Fund is balanced at $27.6 million.

More than $3.1 million was carried over to this year's general fund from last year's because property tax and land use revenues were higher than expected.

The general fund is on track to provide an additional $1.4 million in personnel salaries and benefits a 9.65 percent increase from last year because of rising pay scales, new positions, retirement costs and position reclassifications.

Capital improvement projects funded in the general fund include $30,000 to complete architectural plans for a new county jail, $100,000 to begin planning a new animal shelter, $40,000 to keep up the Red Barn in San Andreas, $100,000 to hire a consultant to find ways to improve the county museum, $100,000 to build a garage for county agriculture vehicles and about $1.9 million to remodel the Calaveras County Government Center.

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The Union Democrat
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