Wednesday, February 10, 2010

County faces grim budget

February 10, 2010, 02:49 AM By Michelle Durand, San Mateo Daily Journal

San Mateo County could eliminate a $100 million structural deficit by closing the San Mateo Medical Center, the jails and the county’s parks.

The problem?

The county’s structural deficit is now on course to hit approximately $150 million and flat-out shuttering facilities that provide health and public safety is not an acceptable option.

“I’m not suggesting [that option],” County Manager David Boesch told the Board of Supervisors during a budget update yesterday.

Rather, Boesch said illustrating a $100 million equivalent lets officials “understand the magnitude of the challenge we face is quite large.”

To tackle the problem, Boesch said the county should draw down on non-departmental reserves by $172 million and find another $50 million in ongoing solutions before 2013.

Based on year-end estimates, the county expects to end this fiscal year with $362.1 million which is $37.7 million less than the previous year. The general fund will be down $2 million for the year but still $44.6 million more than next year because of $58.5 million in unanticipated ERAF money.

Although the talk at Tuesday’s board meeting was the overall budget for this fiscal year and a look to the upcoming budgeting sessions, the structural deficit was the primary target.

The growing structural deficit is the subject of a five-year elimination plan by the county but, during a 2009-10 budget update by Boesch yesterday, officials heard that the situation remains grim — and expanding even further.


Posted by Steve Sinai

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