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Budget Briefing from the County Executive Office
It has now been nine years since economists agreed that the Great Recession ended. This country is now entering the 10th year of the longest economic expansion since the end of World War II. Nevada County has benefited from this long expansion by maintaining services at pre-recession levels while bolstering a few needed areas of services, addressing pension liabilities and building additional reserves for the next economic downturn.
The 2018-2019 Nevada County budget is proposed to total $235.7 million which is an increase of 3% over the last fiscal year. Among the largest increases was salary and benefits. This budget also includes funding for the top priorities of the Board of Supervisors including regulation of cannabis cultivation and increased funding for homelessness programs and prevention. Also included are increased resources for fire inspections to improve fire prevention.
Sales tax is still growing at about 5% per year and we are projecting property taxes to hit the historical average of 5.5% in 2018-19. We are now experiencing essentially full employment with our Unemployment Rate for April 2018 at 3.3%. Nevada County is once again doing better economically than almost all rural counties.
Threats and challenges remain. Pension liabilities and costs will continue to rise for years. If the County sticks to the current Board policies we will be well positioned for that next economic downturn. The Board's continuing policy hallmark has been to favor long range financial planning over quick and elusive fixes. Since recessions have traditionally occurred every seven to nine years, the next one can be expected fairly soon.