Upcoming Kern County budget tells a familiar story | News

Kern County is preparing for another year of low financial growth, although officials say the county government has a strong financial base for the next fiscal year.

In a report to inspectors on Tuesday, the Kern County Administrative Office gave the first indication of what the next year’s budget might look like.

“We’ve been seeing the same discretionary revenue over the last five years,” Finance Director Elsa Martinez said at the meeting.

The council’s fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30, and the budget funds provincial services such as law enforcement, infrastructure maintenance, public health and local parks.

As one of the largest employers in the region, the budget affects thousands of jobs each year.

In fiscal year 2021-22, the region’s discretionary revenue — or local collected and controlled money — was $ 380.5 million.

The county expects a modest increase in revenue of $ 12.4 million compared to the current fiscal year, which will be largely offset by an increase in costs. This means another “status quo” budget, a term used by the council to indicate that most local departments will not receive much funding.

“Despite a modest increase in discretionary revenue for the next fiscal year, the county continues to question year-over-year growth in real estate tax and sales tax revenue, both the county’s two discretionary and locally controlled sources, and associated costs. it continues, ”the Provincial Administration wrote in a report to officials.

For departments that have been left empty for the past eight years as a result of budget cuts, this is likely to be welcome news. However, hundreds of millions of federal and state funds dedicated to the county in the last two years associated with the coronavirus pandemic have softened the blow.

“The budget is about as many dollars as it is about priorities,” Martinez told officials. “I want to assure you that our departments have spent a lot of time reviewing their mandates and their programs to prioritize or limit resources.”

The good news for the county is that the County Administration Office has announced that the revenue from the oil and gas property tax is expected to increase by 20 percent based on the $ 73 price of oil at the time of the assessment. This is mainly due to a 24% drop in the tax on oil and gas goods during the current financial year.

New contracts with many employees in the region guarantee a rise in the cost of living on July 1st. The rise has been the focus of much discussion over the past year, with local unions arguing that workers were on the rise due to overall increases and higher living costs.

But the council says an increase in workers ’compensation will offset the council’s reduction in retirement costs.

The financial stagnation of the county has affected the existing reserve funds for emergencies. On Tuesday, the county said $ 40 million had been saved in contingency reserves. Martinez said the amount should be about $ 80 million, or about 20 percent of the total discretionary budget.

Officials voted unanimously to approve the report.

The next budget debate is scheduled for June 28, with final approval on August 30.

You can contact Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You can also follow @smorgenTBC on Twitter.

Upcoming Kern County budget tells a familiar story | News Source link Upcoming Kern County budget tells a familiar story | News

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