Check with the Accountant
Mono County Supervisors balance a budget
Get out the thermos of coffee because it’s time for budget hearings in Mono County. County Supervisors spent more than six hours listening to department heads and stirring numbers around on Tuesday, September 6.
The 2016-17 budget is $69.5 million; itemized as follows: Non-General Fund revenues of $30,832,995 and expenditures of $31,813,612 with a carryover fund balance of $980,617; General Fund revenues of $34,539,917 and expenditures of $37,655,427 needing a carryover balance of $3,115,456. The total carryover, or contingency funds, equaled $4 million, leaving a $884,544 balance for policy items.
However, there was a gap of $513,000 between the carryover and department requests. County Administrative Officer and former Mono County Finance Director Leslie Chapman explained the $513,000 gap was filled with more accurate information and double-checking figures.
She added that departments sacrificed their wants in order to balance the budget. Unfilled positions and delayed department restructuring saved $541,830, and this money will be put into the newly-created Economic Stabilization Fund.
The Economic Stabilization Fund is a savings account to be used for “smoothing out the impacts of moderate fluctuations in the economy,” according to Chapman. It can also be set aside for salary adjustments due to equity study results, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiations and/or capital improvements.
Chapman recommended moving one-time revenues, like the unexpected windfall of a $770,000 refund from the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund, to the Economic Stabilization Fund for the long term. This would be different from a contingency fund that is filled with roll-over money from the previous fiscal year.
The fund is basically cash, but as a contingency, funding salary increases for example, would have to come out of the budget, and there’s not always money in the budget to fund added, unexpected costs.
“If we had this two years ago, we could have used it instead of furloughs,” Chapman told the board.