Nevada County Concludes Fiscal Year 20/21 Budget Hearings
Nevada City, CA – On June 2, 2020, the County of Nevada conducted budget hearings for the fiscal year (FY) 20/21 County Budget. Nevada County’s long-standing Board of Supervisors’ budget and financial management policies have created a solid foundation and helped set the stage for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis now and for the coming fiscal year. The County has been planning for a major emergency or recession for a number of years and therefore is able to continue operations without need for drastic cuts in the FY 20/21 Budget.
“It is great to see that we are stable in these uncertain times. I thank the committed staff of the County for working so hard to keep us financially healthy,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Heidi Hall.
The budget supports the 2020 Board Priorities including reducing risk of wildfire, addressing homelessness, and supporting affordable housing, and also considers the key objectives of maintaining core services, keeping the public and staff safe, and assisting the most vulnerable populations and businesses in Nevada County.
“We have what it takes to weather this storm, and I am proud to lead an organization that steps up to adversity, is dedicated to serving our residents, and works together to meet our local challenges.” said County CEO Alison Lehman.
The FY 20/21 County Budget includes $251 million of revenue, a 0.7 percent increase from FY 2019/20, and expenses of $266 million, a 3.1 percent ($8 million) increase. Expenses would have declined but for the $9 million increase in Health and Human Service Agency expenses which are largely driven by increased need for services, a $900 thousand increase in the Office of Emergency Services to support wildfire and COVID-19 responses, and major road projects. Much of the increased expenses are funded by State or Federal grants and allocations, and therefore don’t impact the County’s fiscal health. The FY 20/21 budget also included $4 million of increased expenses that were beyond the control of the County, relating to the “realignment” of programs from the State to counties, such as transferring inmates and parolees from State prisons to County jails and probation departments.
Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair Dan Miller was concerned about the use of realignment funds and said, “those funds are critical to our programs. We need to keep working with our county partners and the State to shore up those dollars.”
The County acted early and quickly to mitigate the COVID-19 fiscal impact, identifying cost savings including a tighter review process to limit the filling of vacant positions. The COVID-19 fiscal impact is estimated at $25 million dollars for both FY 2019/20 and FY 20/21. The impact for FY 20/21 alone is estimated at $12.3 million and the budget is balanced with $7.4 million in reduced expenses and $4.9 million use of fund balance. Across all County operations, use of fund balances is estimated to increase from $8.5 million in FY 19/20 to $15 million in the FY 20/21 budget.
Martin Polt, Chief Fiscal Officer, said “due to the fiscally prudent policies of the Board of Supervisors, even with the significant COVID-19 impact, the County is keeping some powder dry to face continued uncertainties in the coming months and years.”