Supervisors discuss 2001-02 budget, take no action

August 14, 2001|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors discussed but did not take any action to approve changes to the county 2001-2002 budget during a hearing Monday.

The 2001-2002 budget was adopted last year when a two-year budget was approved.

The original budget called for $123 million in revenue and $126 million in expenses. The proposed changes are $126 million in revenue and $133.7 million in expenses. The changes reflect a .6 percent increase in revenue and a 2.6 percent increase in expenses over last year's budget.

The proposed changes include:

· $817,000 for the county garage for vehicles and tools,

· $289,000 to the Office of Employment Training for upgrading computers and buying maintenance trucks, tools and office equipment,

· $198,800 to lease three fire trucks and hire two additional fire captains,

· $167,379 to reorganize the county executive office,

· $111,058 to hire two animal control officers, including equipment they will need.


Three of the five supervisors voiced opposition to a county budget that operates on a $7 million deficit.

"A $7.36 million deficit budget is not acceptable to me at this time," Supervisor Gary Wyatt said.

Supervisor Joe Maruca agreed, saying "I would feel better if we had a conservative, balanced budget. It makes more fiscal sense to me."

Addressing the deficit outlined in the proposed budget, Assistant County Executive Officer Robertta Burns said it would be unusual for the county to spend more than 95 percent of the budgeted expenses. She said the only time the county has gone close to or over 95 percent is when there has been an emergency. She added one problem could be if the state changes an Imperial County source of revenue.

"The way the budget is operated is according to state statute," Burns said.

She reminded the supervisors the budget has already been adopted and they were looking at proposed changes.

"The only way to get there (to a non-deficit budget) is to lay people off," Burns said.

Maruca said he thinks the budget process is flawed.

"It was thrown at us," he said. "I'm not sure that I fully understand it because I didn't have time to look at it."

Supervisor Wally Leimgruber agreed.

"I would like to have time as well," he said. "I will not go along with something simply because it's placed before us."

The budget will be revisited when the Board of Supervisors meet again in September.

Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452.

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