On 4/13 The Board of Supervisors had a budget workshop in preparation for the 2021-2022 budget.
How will the pandemic affect the budget 5 years from now? Fiscal Officer Brit Ferguson states “problematic at least”
Last week the Sacramento Board of Supervisors met to discuss the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year Budget following the March 10 review/revision. Fiscal Officer Brit Ferguson presented and provided insight as to how more funds will be allocated towards community programs & service levels, the long term effects of the pandemic on the budget, and the significant differences in budget projection vs actual expense due to uncertainty.
The annual Base Budget includes the amount needed to fund existing on-going staffing and programs, adjusted for increases or decreases in the cost of doing business and, in the case of certain entitlement programs, caseload changes. Growth requests are requests by departments for new or enhanced programs, services, staffing or service levels.
The 2021 ending available fund will be $172 million dollars, which is the highest the balance has been in 20 years. This total does not reflect any revenue that will be received from the American Rescue Act; that amount has not yet been finalized. The budget has taken into account inflation costs, salary cost increases, and discretionary revenue reimbursements. In addition there was also an increase in the investment amount for community program enhancement, specifically to reduce jail populations.
Ferguson then demonstrates how our current trajectory will impact the budget a few years from now, he states “given all the uncertainty forecasting revenues and expenditures , the future can be problematic at best"
Analysts are currently working on finalizing they’re review of budget submittals and the County’s executive team is attending to budget requests. With this review we hope to:
Generally fund departmental Base budgets, but make reductions that have a limited impact on services.
Fund a limited amount of Growth, focusing particularly, but not exclusively, on one-time Growth, including Growth that addresses homelessness, road maintenance, capital and technology needs, Growth required to meet legal and compliance requirements, including the May’s consent decree and Juvenile Realignment, and Growth to address the most critical health and safety needs.
Increase discretionary reserves, but at a less aggressive rate than in the proposed Budget Policies.
While we remain cautiously optimistic that the Board is willing to listen to the community’s input in regards to budgeting, we do need to call out a couple of things. First, the County gave us almost no notice that this meeting was happening, which left us with very little time to prepare. Second the aforementioned Brit Ferguson called participatory budgeting “inappropriate”. What’s inappropriate, Brit, is your casual dismissal and invalidation of community efforts to better this County.