Preliminary $2.78 billion 2019-2020 budget to be reviewed by supervisors Tuesday

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The Board of Supervisors Tuesday will review the preliminary budget proposed for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The $2.78 billion budget puts a high priority on public safety and takes the county out of its four year deficit. If approved, the budget would include $811 million allocated for the county’s general fund, including $639 million for public protection, $23 million more than the amount allocated for public safety last year.

“We prioritize our public safety to make sure that our residents are safe and our communities are well protected,” said Megan Person, director of countywide communications.

Person said the budget also prioritizes fiscal responsibility. It is expected to release the county from its four-year structural deficit totaling $44.5 million.

“Just the fact that we’ve resolved a deficit that large is a huge accomplishment,” Person said, adding “…departments have worked day in and day out to find more efficient ways to do business and to meet our customers’ and residents’ needs, so it’s a huge part on their back that they’re making such strides and becoming more efficient.”

Person said the budget, as it stands now, will not include significant department service level cuts. However, there also are some concerns moving forward, including a $150 million fire fund with a deficit valued at $8.9 million. Pensions are another major concern for the county..

“[In the budget], there is $8.6 million being contributed to the fire fund to cover pension costs. It’s a major problem that we have to figure out. Those pensions costs are escalating year after year. We’re going to have keep an eye for that and address that challenge.”

Public discussion on the budget will take place on July 29th and 30th, and the board’s final approval is set for August 27th.

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