FAIRFIELD — County supervisors on Tuesday will discuss a budget picture that has shifted in light of recent events, with the general fund structural deficit being cut 43 percent to $8.6 million.
They meet at 9 a.m. at the county Government Center, 678 Texas St. They passed a budget for the 2013-14 year in June, but already enough has changed to warrant an update.
For example, the original 2013-14 budget assumed a 1 percent rise in Solano County property values, rather than the 6.77 percent increase that took place. The county in recent months reached new union contract agreements that include raises. Public safety sales tax revenue is higher than expected.
Add all the changes together and the county’s general fund for 2013-14 is to have $179.6 million in revenues and $188.2 million in expenses. That leaves a gap of $8.6 million, according to a county report.
That gap of $8.6 million is smaller than the predicted structural deficit in June of $15.2 million.
But the county still sees its budget as being balanced, because it has the savings to cover the gap. It began the fiscal year with a $48.5 million general fund carryover and added $4.2 million from savings, for total general fund operating revenues of $232.4 million.
It is spending that $232.4 million on its $188.2 million in operating expenses and also is sending $27.6 million to various reserve funds. If all goes as estimated, it would end the fiscal year in June 2014 with $16.6 million remaining in the general fund.
The county shifts money to reserve funds for various reasons. For example, it is anticipating increasing retirement costs in coming years associated with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. As a result, it moved $13 million from the general fund to a reserve account to help deal with this situation.
Projections for future fiscal years show the structural deficit reaching $15.6 million in fiscal year 2016-17. It also shows that the county will have enough savings to remain in the black.
The economy is showing mixed signals, the county report said. For example, the report mentioned the county unemployment rate fell from 8.5 percent in July to 8.2 percent in August. At the same time, fewer people were employed and the decrease came about because the labor market also shrank.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.