Financial Outlook Good for County Programs, Services
The County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors approved a $574.7 million budget on June 21, 2016, prioritizing public safety, as well as health and human services, for FY 2016-17.
The County’s spending plan includes a considerable investment in public safety, including increasing staffing in the following areas: Cambria’s fire station during the winter season, the District Attorney’s office to care for elderly and disabled crime victims, the Sheriff’s Gang Task Force to prevent gang violence in the community, and the Sheriff’s Community Action Team to focus on issues of homelessness. The County also plans to spend $11.5 million to improve local roads.
“The budget truly is an investment in our community and a direct result of the many policies and plans that have been created and implemented over the years,” County Budget Director Emily Jackson said. “This is an ongoing process that requires collaboration of elected officials, staff at all levels, and members of the public.”
At the public budget hearings last week, the Board also approved an additional $75,000 to support outside agencies’ homeless services. At the same time, the Board also added two new Sheriff’s Deputies to patrol the North Coast and southern regions of the county, and $50,000 to conduct mosquito surveillance to reduce the risk of vector-borne diseases, like Zika. The Board also increased the budget for grants to community organizations from the proposed $1.8 million to $1.9 million.
“Cautious and thoughtful management has placed us on solid ground,” County Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi said. “The focus moving forward will be to maintain the County’s strong financial position by continuing to take a strategic and disciplined approach to budgeting.”
The County’s budget includes a comprehensive spending plan guided by input from County departments, elected officials, stakeholders and the community. The County Board of Supervisors approved a total spending level of $574.7 million, with $487.6 million distributed to the General Fund budget. This is an increase of less than 1 percent over the current fiscal year. The new budget will take effect on July 1.
The budget takes many factors into consideration, including the drought and the decline in state revenues that fund local transportation projects. New Federal and State legislation also impacts the budget, including Laura’s Law to allow for court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment, and the Continuum of Care Reform to improve foster care outcomes.
The County’s budget has been nationally recognized for five consecutive years for meeting the highest principles in governmental budgeting. Earlier this year, the County once again earned the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for its FY 2015-16 budget. For three consecutive years, the County has also been recognized by Fitch Ratings with the highest possible ratings for its financial performance, specifically relating to bonds.
Take a closer look at the County’s budget.