In Sutter County, a balanced ‘status quo’ budget

budget cover
We would like to thank several local photographers who donated images for use in the budget book, including  Jack Davis, Rachel Ekberg, Michelle Zearfoss, and John Hollis.

The Sutter County Board of Supervisors approved a balanced, “status quo” Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Recommended Budget on Thursday afternoon. Staff from various County departments prepare a recommended budget prior to the fiscal year, and the Board of Supervisors decides whether the recommendations will become the operational spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2018 and runs through June 30, 2019.

The budget reflects a stable local economy and an organization committed to living within its means. The approximately $334 million budget includes estimated revenues of $17.4 million in local property taxes (5.7 percent increase), $10 million in vehicle license (4.6 percent increase), and $3.3 million in sales taxes (a decrease of 6.4 percent).

Federal and state funding for Welfare and Social Services ($51.6 million) and Behavioral Health Services ($37 million) are the two single largest sources of funding. Sutter County is the employer of record for the Behavioral Health employees who provide services to residents in both Sutter and Yuba counties.

As a local government, Sutter County has very limited local revenue/tax sources to support the vast array of municipal services it is charged with providing to residents and businesses covering approximately 600 square miles. The few taxes and fees which the County relies on are among the lowest in California and are infrequently adjusted (most do not keep up with inflation).

Sutter County is also highly dependent on Federal and State government funding to support a large portion of the regional and social services it is obligated to provide. To complicate matters, the County’s changing demographics have resulted in rising service needs and demands for public assistance above the Statewide average. For example, demands for health and human services and public safety services continue to increase at concerning rates.

Consequently, the Sutter County organization has learned to live with limited financial resources during recurring years of rising service demands. This, in turn, has caused the County to defer maintenance of its many buildings, vehicles, equipment, and assets. The County has also reduced staffing, passed on benefit costs to employees, contracted out services, combined operations and services where possible with other service providers, and cut back on employee training and development. After years of making “one-time” cuts and reductions, the County remains at a crossroads with respect to looking toward the future.

You can see the entire recommended budget here:

And here’s a nifty tool that will let you explore the budget in many different ways: