2009.04.11: April 11, 2009: Headlines: COS - Nigeria: City Government: Sacramento Bee: Nigeria RPCV Terry Schutten writes: Step by step: County handles crisis carefully

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nigeria: Peace Corps Nigeria : Peace Corps Nigeria: Newest Stories: 2009.04.11: April 11, 2009: Headlines: COS - Nigeria: City Government: Sacramento Bee: Nigeria RPCV Terry Schutten writes: Step by step: County handles crisis carefully

By Admin1 (admin) (98.188.147.225) on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 - 8:30 am: Edit Post

Nigeria RPCV Terry Schutten writes: Step by step: County handles crisis carefully

Nigeria RPCV Terry Schutten writes: Step by step: County handles crisis carefully

This year, because of the massive recession, we have to balance the needs of our No. 1 priority against the mandates that we are required to deliver. It is unfortunate that Sacramento County cannot receive a bailout like General Motors. However, we are exploring every federal stimulus package we can to bring additional funds to Sacramento County. Like our cities, we are fortunate to have in Sacramento County excellent employees dedicated to providing accurate, timely financial material for our Board of Supervisors. The county's department heads and their employees are tackling monumental issues due to the federal, state and local recession. It is our goal to minimize the impact of this recession on those who need our services and rely on our programs. As county executive, I would like to acknowledge the courage of Supervisors Susan Peters, chairwoman; Roger Dickinson, Don Nottoli, Roberta MacGlashan and Jimmie Yee for making these difficult budget decisions. I will continue to make strong leadership recommendations so that our Board of Supervisors can have the best possible choices through these unprecedented economic times.

Nigeria RPCV Terry Schutten writes: Step by step: County handles crisis carefully

Terry Schutten: Step by step: County handles crisis carefully

By Terry Schutten
Special to The Bee
Published: Saturday, Apr. 11, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 13A

To understand the budget decisions that Sacramento County faces, it is important for the citizens to know that the county, unlike cities, has many required services that must be provided.

We act as an agent of the state. A large number of our services are mandated by the state. In the areas of health care, public health, mental health and social services, approximately 70 percent of our funding is provided by the state. Sacramento County relies on this funding stream.

County governments, unlike cities, must provide these services. This complexity, as compared with cities, makes it significantly more difficult to assess our financial situation and develop our funding models. We currently have more than 774 revenue sources.

Based on this business model, Sacramento County has taken aggressive steps over the last 10 months.

In June, we:

Adopted the preliminary budget.

Reduced the budget by $67 million and 290 positions.

Provided additional funding for the sheriff. The Sheriff's Department needed approximately $30 million. The department was given $25 million.

Chose to use reserves to maintain the No. 1 priority of the Board of Supervisors, which is public safety.

From July to October:

The state budget quagmire caused Sacramento County to delay finalizing the 2008-09 budget.

The state adopted its budget in October, and based on this, an additional $15 million was cut from the county's final budget, plus an additional 25 positions.

The county imposed cost-cutting measures and stopped all unnecessary maintenance, travel, computer purchases, expansions and facility renovations. This caused the elimination of one department.

In January:

The county directed all departments to centralize IT to alleviate redundancies and reduce costs.

We reviewed and revised revenues from state property and sales tax based on economic condition. All our financial forecasts were revised.

In February:

We were confronted with the state controller's crisis.

During that time, top management was developing processes to secure money in order to keep the basic services going.

Midyear budget reductions were presented to the board, which resulted in a further reduction of $53 million and 160 positions.

Health and Human Services and general government cuts resulted in $13 million of that amount.

The Sheriff's Department received an additional $10.9 million.

Departments were directed to begin working on the 2009-10 budget.

In March:

The county released its initial shortfall projection of $168.5 million for the 2009-10 budget.

In the fall, a hiring freeze was examined. Department heads self-imposed measures to implement hiring freezes. Out of a work force of 14,000 employees, from January to March, the county added only 55 new hires.

The county's business model now requires departments to analyze the impact of the 2009-10 reductions. These will be submitted to the County Executive's Office for review and analysis.

Further refinements of revenue enhancements or other changes to the departmental budgets will be made; then a preliminary budget will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors in mid-June.

We are now focused on looking forward as we face next year's budget.

As revenues fall, costs increase and the recession deepens, we are contending with a shortfall of more than $180 million for 2009-10. Other California counties are facing similar challenges.

During my 10 years as county executive, the Board of Supervisors has placed as its No. 1 priority the safety of our citizens. We have worked hard to maintain that priority, and all departments have been diligently making reductions.

This year, because of the massive recession, we have to balance the needs of our No. 1 priority against the mandates that we are required to deliver.

It is unfortunate that Sacramento County cannot receive a bailout like General Motors. However, we are exploring every federal stimulus package we can to bring additional funds to Sacramento County.

Like our cities, we are fortunate to have in Sacramento County excellent employees dedicated to providing accurate, timely financial material for our Board of Supervisors.

The county's department heads and their employees are tackling monumental issues due to the federal, state and local recession.

It is our goal to minimize the impact of this recession on those who need our services and rely on our programs.

As county executive, I would like to acknowledge the courage of Supervisors Susan Peters, chairwoman; Roger Dickinson, Don Nottoli, Roberta MacGlashan and Jimmie Yee for making these difficult budget decisions.

I will continue to make strong leadership recommendations so that our Board of Supervisors can have the best possible choices through these unprecedented economic times.

Terry Schutten is Sacramento County executive.





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Story Source: Sacramento Bee

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nigeria; City Government

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