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CAO releases recommended budget

August 29, 2014

Kevin Carunchio, Inyo County CAO

Inyo County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio has released his recommended budget, which trims the county’s structural deficit by $1 million.
However, those cost-saving measures – some of which have already been implemented – have had and could have an impact on county programs.
Carunchio says in his introduction summary of the budget that funds are available to complete construction of the new Inyo County Animal Shelter, provide core county services and programs and avoid further staff reductions through layoffs.
But on the flip side of that coin, the budget does not provide funding for contributions to the County Economic Stabilization Fund or the General Reserve fund, which are used to help “smooth out” unexpected decreases in revenues or increases in expenditures that cannot be absorbed with budget appropriations.
Carunchio also said that the proposed budget does not provide funding for a legal challenge of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposed Southern Inyo Solar Ranch between Lone Pine and Independence, should that project move forward.
Carunchio also said that the proposed budget does not provide funding for the Community Projects Sponsorship Grant, while the Grants in Support program funding has been cut in half.
Carunchio did say there is a chance that funding could be restored to the GIS and CPSG programs when the Board of Supervisors begins its budget hearings next week.
“I am very clear in my recommendation that when budget hearings begin in September, if we have more than $3 million in our General Fund balance, that the board consider reinstating CPSP and GIS,” Carunchio said.
In an effort to balance the budget, Inyo County implemented a number of programs designed to reduce costs without relying on layoffs or service reductions.
Those programs included an employee separation incentive plan. Carunchio said nine employees participated, generating $365,468 in net savings to the General Fund and $108,963 in non-General Fund budget requests.
County departments also participated in a “service redesign” program by thinking up creative ways to reduce costs. Those efforts, Carunchio says, saved $665,559.
The county also maintains a number of position vacancies, which amount to $531,642 in General Fund savings.
The entire 2014-15 recommended budget document is available online at the County’s webpage, www.inyocounty.us.
The full budget outlines the revenue and expenditures being proposed for each of the county’s budget units.
“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 during the budget process. I encourage all residents and business owners to review the recommended budget and come to the budget hearings.”
Budget hearings commence at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3,, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, in the County Administrative Offices, 224 N. Edwards St. in Independence.
Please note that the Board of Supervisor’s consideration of the CPSG and GIS budget units, which were originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday Sept. 3, have been re-scheduled for 3 p.m. on the same day.

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