Sacramento County Recommended Budget Approved
SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the $4.4 billion recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20.
“Sacramento County’s FY 2019-20 budget provided substantial challenges due in part to decreased state and federal revenues, significant costs around lawsuits and increased expenditures,” said District 2 County Supervisor and Board Chair Patrick Kennedy. “We were able to weather these challenges with a balanced budget that minimizes the impact to critical services, without eliminating whole programs or services.”
The County’s General Fund and Restricted Funds budgets for FY 2019-20 totaled $2.7 billion in appropriations, which is a 4.2 percent increase over last year’s total. Enterprise and special revenue funds comprise the remaining $1.68 billion.
“We were able to recommend a balanced budget that avoided eliminating whole programs or services, limited the impact on Board-priority programs and avoided employee layoffs,” said County Executive Nav Gill.
In spite of the growth of revenue, reductions in positions and programs were necessary due to lawsuit costs, investments in the jails in order to resolve a lawsuit around conditions of confinement, decreases in state and federal revenue for certain programs, as well as other obligations.
To close a general shortfall of $55 million, Sacramento County recommended $43 million in reductions in General Fund Departments and $12 million in General Fund reserves to bridge the gap.
General Fund departments identified a number of targeted program and position reductions. The reductions included the elimination of 181.3 FTE positions that were either vacant or, in a few cases, filled by employees who were shifted to other positions in the same class. No layoffs were necessary.
The budget also recognized areas of growth, including:
$21.7 million to make improvements to the County’s jails as part of continuing efforts to resolve conditions of confinement concerns identified in a recent lawsuit; $2.3 million in state and federal revenue to add 25 FTE positions in Child Support Services; $1.2 million in 2011 Realignment Local Innovation funds to add seven positions in Probation to establish a Pre-Trial Assessment and Monitoring Pilot Program; $1 million set aside for costs related to the Hardesty/Schneider lawsuit against the County; $3.5 million to add 29 FTE positions in Airports Department to handle the impact of increasing passenger and freight volume; and $668,000 to cover the cost of postcards and postage for the March 2020 Primary Election, as required by state law.
The budget also continued funding for programs and services that were initiated over the last few years with Board approval, including:
Homeless Initiatives: The FY 2019-20 Budget expands services in several areas using state and federal funding, for a total of a $20 million budget for the initiatives. A $700,000 reduction in funding for the Scattered Site Housing program subsidies (contractor did not need the full amount and placed families in federally funded housing slots). The remaining amount for the Scattered Site Housing program is $2 million;
The Parkways and Unincorporated Communities Clean-up and Safety Initiative to reduce the incidence and mitigate the impact of illegal camping in the County’s parkways and unincorporated communities received continued funding with a reduced level of deputies on the Homeless Outreach Teams, reduced hours for the Parks Resource Team and eliminated funding for an animal control officer;
The intelligence-led policing model implemented by the Sheriff’s Department;
The Healthy Partners Program that provides healthcare services to undocumented immigrants;
A strategic plan to reduce disproportionate African-American child deaths through community-based contracts and targeted staffing in Child Protective Services, Public Health and Probation;
Implementation of an Adult Supervision Model in Probation that will prioritize supervision and services for high-risk probationers in the first six months to a year of probation;
Behavioral Health Services enhancements to provide appropriate services to persons with serious drug and alcohol use disorders, reducing reliance on hospital emergency rooms, and ensuring that individuals experiencing a mental health crisis receive treatment in the most appropriate setting for their needs;
Continue to implement the Board-approved three-year MHSA (Mental Health Services Act) to expedite mental health services for individuals with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use disorders and are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
Animal Care Initiatives focused on improving animal care, increased spay/neuter services and increasing the Bradshaw Shelter’s live release rate. The budget recommends reductions in contracts and two positions, but the department expects to continue to maintain its high live release rate;
Efforts to reduce fire danger and illegal camping, increase debris removal and enhance the visitor experience in the American River Parkway and the County’s Regional Parks will continue with a reduced number of seasonal staff hours from 9,000 to 4,654;
For details, read the County Executive’s Budget Letter or view the budget documents on the Office of Budget and Debt Management;
The numbers on the Recommended Budget will change between now and September, when the County receives new information, including the impact of the State Budget and updated revenue totals. The Final Budget will come back to the Board of Supervisors in September for review and adoption.
By the numbers: $4.4 B: Total Budget; $1.8 B: General Fund; $1.6 B: Enterprise and Special Revenue; $918 M: Restricted Funds; 12,307: Number of Employees.