On June 13, 2017, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors adopted the Preliminary 2017-18 Budget on a 5-0 vote. The annual budget of Yolo County is a statement of the financial policy and plan for the coming fiscal year. The Preliminary 2017-18 Budget identifies total expenditures for Yolo County in the amount of $416,997,472, an increase of 12% or $44,075,238 over the all-funds budget for 2016-17. The most significant increase is due to capital improvement projects. The all-funds budget includes state and federal funds directed to specific purposes, as well as enterprise funds for operation of the Yolo County Landfill and other specific purposes. The adopted Preliminary 2017-18 Budget includes unrestricted General Fund revenues of $74,800,455, an increase of 4.1% or $2,969,755 over the 2016-17 year end estimated general purpose revenue. The June 13, 2017 Board action was based on extensive staff effort and several months of Board briefings and reviews of the operations of every Yolo County Department. This action will be modified as part of the regular county budget process in September when the Board will consider the Final 2017-18 Budget adoption, based on year-end closing of spending and revenues, final state budget actions, and consideration of emerging issues.
Highlights of new investments included in the Preliminary 2017-18 Budget
County workforce of 1,520 total positions. This is a net reduction of 21 full time positions from the 2016-17 County workforce and a redirection of some County positions to higher priority responsibilities.
Mental Health Crisis Management Program. This program will provide patients with more supportive and cost-effective mental health services. County staff will help patients seeking mental health services at emergency rooms to access services in a setting that best meets their presenting needs. This new program also includes a Mental Health Urgent Care site to provide stabilization and support to connect to the appropriate level of care.
Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The budget includes $37.3 million for capital improvement projects. These monies along with State grants, development impact fees, Accumulated Capital Outlay funds and monies from the proposed CIP bond* are slated to cover six major projects, including: renovation of the Historic Courthouse, library archives remodel, expansions to the jail facilities, the development of the Juvenile Detention Center, and constructing a new library in the rural town of Yolo.
External Funding Requests. The Adopted Preliminary Budget includes $507,000 to support the efforts of 8 non-profit agencies to provide vital services for our residents. These services include: emergency childcare and wraparound services, one-stop services for victims of crime, support for art programs, distribution of healthy fruits and vegetables to low income families and a tax assistance program for low-income residents. I voted in favor of supporting these external service requests for 2017-18. I also asked that the Board and staff review the budget process for next budget to explore ways to increase transparency and align external requests with performance measures and County strategic goals.
Emerging issues that could impact the Final 2017-18 Yolo County Budget
Indigent Health Care if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. Under California law, counties are responsible for health care for low income populations. The Affordable Care Act has provided coverage to 23,000 additional Yolo County residents through Medi-Cal expansion and about 6,000 to 7,000 additional residents through Covered California. If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is terminated, these 30,000 people will lose coverage and the County budget will be strained to provide some level of coverage without federal contributions.
Cost shifts from State to County for In Home Support Services (IHSS). The State has proposed to shift IHSS costs to the County, potentially impacting the Yolo County budget by up to $1.5 million. Final state budget deliberations will clarify this issue.
Increase in Child Welfare Caseload. From January 2016 through April 2017, Child Welfare Services experienced a 96% increase in the number of referrals that required immediate response. Staffing levels will need to be addressed to support the need in our community.
Pension Commitments. Yolo County’s unfunded pension liability is estimated at $244 million. We have taken several steps to reduce this liability, including agreements with Yolo County employees for them to bear a greater share of retirement contributions, setting aside funds to pay liabilities in advance rather than on a pay as you go basis, and prepaying the annual bill in order to receive discounted rates.
Underfunded Road Repair. Yolo County has a road maintenance liability of $375,356,601. This will be a continuing issue even with the passage of Senate Bill 1 this year.
You can read the staff report for the Preliminary Budget here, and the full budget materials here. The Adopted Budget for 2017-18 will be approved once the final State budget is released. The approval of the Adopted Budget will happen at the Board Budget Hearing on September 26th, 2017. Please reach out to me and share your thoughts on the budget. I appreciate your ongoing input on County issues and welcome your views on our budget and budget process. As always, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts on this topic or any other matter.
In shared service,