Sutter County officials are delaying the adoption of the Fiscal Year 2020/21 budget due to COVID-19 and uncertainties regarding how it will impact revenue sources.
In order to continue operations starting July 1, supervisors tentatively approved the recommended budget during a recent meeting and will reconvene later this year to hold budget hearings, make adjustments and adopt the budget formally.
“Right now we would normally be having our budget hearings and that happens after the recommended budget is introduced, but with COVID we had to push it back some, so we won’t have our budget hearings until late August or early September in order to have more information about our revenues,” said Sutter County Administrator Steve Smith.
The FY 2020/21 recommended budget totals $378 million. Smith said the county’s true net budget is closer to $250 million. At this point, the county is projected to experience a loss of about $800,000 in straight sales tax. The county’s general fund is also down $5.1 million compared to last year, he said.
Smith said the recommended budget is balanced. He said one of the biggest challenges moving forward is not knowing how COVID-19 will impact the economy and whether or not a second wave will result in more closures. One promising aspect of the recommended budget, he said, is that no layoffs were required, though the county has implemented a hiring freeze for most departments.
“Now that we have our recommended budget, that’s how we will be able to continue operating and paying bills into the fiscal year. As we get additional information, staff will gather any recommended changes and when we have budget meetings, we will provide another presentation and update on where we stand,” Smith said. “Hopefully we will have some good news and we can put some more money back into our reserves. If we don’t and things are coming in worse than projected, then we will have to look at additional ways to save money.”