Many folks hear the term “budget” and they think BORING. The Yolo County budget is a reflection of our values. The Board of Supervisors approved a final budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year on September 26th, 2017. The preliminary budget was adopted by the Board on June 13th, 2017, click here for more information. You can read the staff report for the approved budget here,
Balanced Budget/Fiscal Accountability – The budget supports priorities from the Strategic Plan and remains fiscally responsible with investments in reserves and pension liabilities. In addition, Yolo County’s long-term rating for its general obligation debt went from an A- on February 21st 2014 to an A+ bond rating on March 8th, 2017, which means that Yolo County taxpayers save money due to the county’s low interest rate when borrowing money for capital projects.
Road Improvements –The approved budget included $300,000 from the County’s General Fund and $8.2 million of State funding for road maintenance and improvements in fiscal year 2017-18. This state funding includes partial year funding of $1.3 million from the new gasoline tax authorized by Senate Bill 1. In future years, we anticipate SB 1 will provide about $6.6 million annually. The County prioritizes road maintenance investments that will increase the “life” of the road and those that are high traffic corridors that aren’t eligible for federal road funding. While these State funds are a boost to our road repair budget, it is a fraction of what is needed for our 10-year road maintenance plan. Currently, the County is looking at the details to becoming a Self-Help County, for more information, click here.
Child Welfare – The approved budget included an increase of $1.4 million for Child Welfare Services which will provide much needed resource support for our County’s social workers who have been facing increasing caseloads over this past year.
Public Defender’s Office – The budget approved three new positions in the Public Defender’s Office for two paralegals and a social worker which will provide more resource support so that they can better serve clients. This is a priority budget item for me as I want low income people to have equal access to justice. We have more work to do to achieve parity of staffing between the office of the Public Defender and the office of the District Attorney.
Rural Initiatives – In the 2017-18 budget the County also allocated funding for a number of rural initiatives including dedicating funds to support a Farmworker Outreach Coordinator, (for more information click here to read the County’s report on Agricultural Labor), expand the Yolo County Library Chromebook and mobile hotspot program, and expand access to Health and Human Services via service kiosks at rural libraries. In addition to these projects, I asked that $25,000 be dedicated toward improving road safety conditions along County Road 99D near John Jones road. With parents and children biking along this busy county road, it’s important to reduce risk by placing traffic calming measures along this route. For a more complete list of projects supported by the Rural Initiative Fund, please click here.
Cannabis Enforcement – In the absence of a cannabis tax, general funds are allocated to eliminate illegal non-permitted grows. This action will encourage cannabis growers to come into the legal market and join other farmers that currently are held accountable to personnel laws, building codes, and environmental protections.
Crisis Intervention Program – As part of the budget discussion I raised concerns about the abrupt termination of SB 82 funds from the State that supported our mobile Crisis Intervention Program. This program dispatched a mental health clinician with law enforcement on calls when an individual may be experiencing a mental health crisis. The Board requested that we evaluate the impact of this program, potential savings it had with avoided hospitalization and arrests, and improved consumer outcomes. I expect to continue to work to identify new approaches to mobile crisis response.
While there is much work to do and many fiscal uncertainties to come, I am proud of the budget that we passed and am happy that our budgeting priorities continues to align with our strategic plan.
As always, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts on this topic or any other matter.
In shared service,