Fiscal uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Yuba County Board of Supervisors to adopt last year’s budget as an interim spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

The interim spending plan was approved at Tuesday’s meeting to provide officials more time to understand the impact of COVID-19 on county revenue sources before the board adopts a final budget in September.

With decreases in local consumer and business spending, the county anticipates an impact to revenue sources like the sales and use tax collected in unincorporated parts of the county. The public safety sales tax, transportation sales tax and realignment are also expected to be impacted as a result of COVID-19.

“Staff is concerned about sales and use tax revenue, but are equally concerned about other revenue sources that could impact services to the public, specifically those that serve our most vulnerable populations,” said Yuba County Deputy Administrator Grace Mull in an email.

While the budget for the new fiscal year must be adopted by June 30th, the board is using a state provision that extends budget approval in cases of emergency. The board will approve the final budget at a board meeting on Sept. 8.

“The board’s approval of the FY 19/20 budget as the interim spending plan allows staff time to focus on the final budget, which will be presented in September at budget hearings,” Mull said.

Adopting the FY 2019/20 budget as an interim spending plan will also allow county departments to continue operating, and provide time to review their budgets and revenue estimates. During the interim period, county departments are not permitted to make certain changes like purchase new assets or add new positions.

“Staff should have more information on the effects of potential revenue losses by then (September) to provide the board a balanced budget for FY 2020/2021,” Mull said.

Ahead of the final budget adoption, there will be two budget workshops in August for county departments to provide the board with information regarding achievements from the previous year, as well as goals and expected challenges for the upcoming fiscal year.

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