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County to start budget hearings on Monday

September 10, 2012

Inyo County is scheduled to begin its budget hearings next week to discuss how to fund county programs for the next year.
Going into budget hearings, County Administrative Officer and Budget Officer Kevin Carunchio said the county has a total of $82,424,387 in expenditures and $76,553,650 in expected revenues for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
He said the General Fund account is projected to have $3,663,101 in its balance going into this next budget year. Budgeted General Fund expenditures total $49,981,911; revenues, $46,318,803.
According to Carunchio, his recommended budget, which is subject to review, amendments and approval from the Board of Supervisors, “avoids significant reductions to, or the outright elimination of services and programs; strives to fund Board of Supervisors priorities; and does not call for any employee layoffs or the elimination of positions.”
However, Carunchio said that maintaining core services and programs “does not mean that the overall quality of those services and programs is not being, to some degree, eroded due to successive years of status quo budgeting that does provide funding to replace antiquated equipment, broken tools, supplies for basic preventative maintenance or for any other number of ‘little things’ that would help ensure county employees can deliver as high a level of service as they would like.”
In an effort to balance the budget, the county relied on salary savings and operating transfers from the Geothermal Royalties Fund and Criminal Justice Facilities Trust (which were both used to off-set one-time general fund operating transfers).
“The fiscal environment in which the county is providing services and programs is less than ideal, and some very real challenges continue to loom on the horizon,” Carunchio said. “But the sky is still relatively blue over the county’s projected finances for this fiscal year, thanks entirely to ongoing efforts of county departments and their staff.”
Carunchio said department heads, who write individual department budgets, were open to suggested reductions and amendments to their draft budgets before Carunchio released the recommended budget.
The entire Fiscal Year 2012-2013 County Administrative Officer Recommended Budget document is being provided on-line at the County’s webpage,
The 646-page document details the revenue and expenditures being proposed for each of the County’s budget units for the current fiscal year, and will be the subject of the County’s Budget Hearings that commence at 9 a.m. Monday in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, in the Inyo County Administrative Offices, 224 N. Edwards St., Independence.
“The Budget is the County’s spending plan and, as such, sets Inyo County’s service and program priorities for the coming year,” Carunchio said. “If citizens want to know what’s happening in the County or, more importantly, influence its priorities, there’s no better time to get involved in local government than the budget process. I encourage all residents and business owners to review the Recommended Budget and come to the Budget Hearings.”
For those looking for lighter reading, also on the website is the CAO’s 50-page Budget Message that introduces the Recommended Budget and looks at the “big picture” fiscal challenges and opportunities faced by the County this fiscal year.
The Budget Message contains information about the “precarious” nature of the state’s budget situation, and how changes in the state budget could impact Inyo County.

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