Only one person will actually be laid off under a preliminary budget adopted Tuesday by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The unanimous votes formalize a budget deal worked out the previous week over three days of hearings. It will reduce the county’s General Fund operating deficit by $2.2 million in part by eliminating the equivalent of roughly two dozen county positions, most of them currently vacant.
In a compromise, however, most of those positions will be placed on an “unfunded and inactive” list rather than deleted from the county’s position control list.
Sheriff Gary Kuntz, whose department cut eight vacant deputy positions, asked for the arrangement to make it easier to hire deputies in the future if he’s able to find funding. Once positions are deleted from the position control list, department leaders must win formal approval to add them back. Keeping them on the list avoids that requirement.
An Animal Services officer will be the only county employee actually laid off as a result of the budget cuts.
Several people whose positions were slated for elimination avoided layoffs because they are able to transfer to a different, funded position within county government. In the case of Sheriff’s Office Budget Analyst Brandon Cody, who was proposed initially for a layoff, county supervisors agreed to restore funding for his salary by dipping into savings.
Also restored: $36,000 in funding to allow county libraries to maintain their current hours of operation for another year.
The county’s financial woes are due to stagnating revenues and rising costs, including a 4 percent raise for most employees that will take effect Jan. 1, 2015. Even with the cuts approved Tuesday, the county government is still spending about $6 million a year more than it takes in. The difference is made up by draining savings from various accounts.
County Administrative Officer Lori Norton is planning over the next two years to make similarly deep cuts in order to finally bring county income and expenditures in line by 2017.