With the approval of the Board of Supervisors, Colusa County adopted the fiscal year 2021-22 final budget last week.
The 2021-22 fiscal budget – including the general fund, special reserve funds, internal service fund, county service fund dependent special districts and other restricted funds – is $121,210,400, according to County Administrative Officer Wendy Tyler. This is an increase of $3.7 million over what was projected in the recommended budget.
“The general fund contains $2.16 million of this increase, and is a result of increased cash carry over,” said Tyler. “The remaining increase lies within the other funds … and totals $1,638,200.”
According to Tyler, these additional funds were utilized to absorb the increased health insurance costs and an additional one percent increase in COLAs not calculated in the recommended budget.
“We were also able to increase the capital projects budget for two maintenance projects at the shop, provide additional funding for the jail project, set aside funds for miscellaneous COVID-realted matters and increase contingencies and reserves,” said Tyler.
A significant $700,000 increase was made to the capital project budget when compared to the recommended budget, said Tyler, which will be put towards the jail construction project and are a direct result of the increased cash balance forward. These funds should be considered one-time funds.
“Other major projects contemplated in the final budget are the adult residential facility and repainting/reflooring the Behavioral Health campus,” said Tyler.
Salaries and benefits comprise 38 percent of the total budget and have increased 5.5 percent over last year;s final adopted budget, according to Tyler.
The 2021-22 fiscal budget also has a three percent cost of living increase, as well as increases in PERS retirement and medical insurance rates.
“As an approach to meet the Board’s budget objective to maintain the accuracy of revenue and expenditure projections and to better manage our fiscal resources, departments with continued vacancies were given a reduction in their salary and benefit line items that more accurately reflect their true spending,” said Tyler. “No allocations were removed, rather funding was reduced in an amount commensurate with a six-year average of the vacancy rate in the department This is why the increased funds in contingencies is important for this first year effort.”
According to Tyler, there are 413.2 full time Colusa County employees, an increase of 22 positions which was approved with the passage of the recommended budget. Of the new positions, 11 reside within the Behavioral Health Department, nine are in the Health and Human Services Department, one is in the Sheriff’s Office and one is in the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.
The final budget also includes the purchase of four new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office, which will be funded through Rural Law Enforcement funds, according to Tyler.
The Health and Human Services Department has also requested two vehicles to provide mobile medical services throughout the county and Public Works has requested a replacement trailer for hauling equipment.
According to Tyler, contingencies for unanticipated expenses in the final budget have been increased by $1.1 million.
“Our increased contingencies should provide some assurance to those general fund departments who were given budgetary reductions that funding is available should the need arise,” said Tyler.
The general fund reserve has been set at $5.5 million in this final budget, an increase of $500,000 from last year’s fiscal budget, according to Tyler.