The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to accept the 2019-2020 Recommended Proposed Budget — a $1.38 billion plan which will provide funding for increased staffing as well as address homelessness in the area.
Stanislaus County is preparing to enter year two of its first two-year budget, going beyond the typical 12-month budget to promote long-range financial planning, and, hopefully, create more time for County departments to manage their financial resources.
“This is the halfway point in our journey of shifting work and attention from multiple budget projections to a focus on outcomes,” Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer Jody Hayes said.
The Recommended Proposed Budget represents an increase of $32 million, or 2.4 percent, over the base budget that was identified last fall, when the two-year spending plan was first approved.
The increase is attributed to $25.2 million to non-General Fund departments for service level increases and right-sizing of program needs to external funding, primarily in departments that meet the Board’s priority of “Supporting Community Health,” as well as nearly $6.8 million in increases to other General Fund departments; mostly, those that fall under the priority of “Supporting Strong and Safe Neighborhoods.”
Thanks to these increases in funding, the Sheriff’s Department will receive additional staffing to support cannabis enforcement activities, manage human resources functions in Probation, provide supervision and address workload needs in the District Attorney’s Office and address the impact of recent statutory and decisional law in the Public Defender’s Office.
Additionally, Proposition 172 funding, also known as Public Safety Sales Tax revenue, is being provided for the first time to the Chief Executive Office – Office of Emergency Services/Fire Warden as pass-through funding to benefit local fire districts; $100,000 in one-time funding will be allocated to volunteer fire districts for equipment and training and an ongoing allocation representing 2 percent of annual Proposition 172 growth will be provided to local fire agencies, with a base year allocation of $44,000.
The Proposed Budget also includes staffing support for substance use disorder services and management needs within Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, quality improvement and oversight for Child Welfare and CalFresh programs at CSA, and administrative support in Aging and Veterans Services and the HSA. In addition to the realignment of appropriations with program needs in BHRS and CSA, the newly established Homeless Emergency Aid Program at CSA will utilize allocated funding to provide immediate emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness along with those at risk of becoming homeless.
“Our budget process remains grounded in long-range forecasting and strategic modeling that has served the County well during our good times and in our challenging times,” Hayes told the Board. “What you have before you is a good budget. It’s supportive of your priorities and a solid sustainable financial plan for the County and the upcoming year.”
The proposed budget calls for an increase of 62 positions in the County’s workforce over the 2018-2019 budget — 36 of which are recommended for the coming year, as some of the positions were added this year.
Despite these increases in staffing for multiple departments, 28 new/restored position requests from County departments were not recommended by the Chief Executive Office, and are to remain classified as “unmet needs.”
“This budget does not include everything that our departments would like to see funded at this time, and we would like to be transparent about that as well,” Hayes said.
Supervisor Vito Chiesa applauded the organization’s staff for getting Stanislaus County back on its feet following the recession through conscious spending.
“The two-year budget cycle, I was unsure how it was going to work out now that we’re entering the second year,” Chiesa said, mentioning his visit to a recent Turlock City Council meeting where the town’s own two-year budget came under fire. “They weren’t happy with the way it’s worked out for them, but it seems to be working fairly well here…it has to do with the quality and the timing of the communication and how it travels.
“We’re in as good of a position as we could possibly ask for.”
The Board unanimously approved accepting the proposed budget — with an amendment to the Staffing Impact which removes verbiage allowing for the allocation of two Lieutenants in the District Attorney’s Office. On Sept. 17, the Board will vote to approve the final budget. The entire proposed budget is available for preview on the County’s website at www.stancounty.com/budget.