SLO County sets next year’s budget priorities

The County's fiscal year (FY) 2019-20 budget cycle. (Contributed graphic)

COUNTY — On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors established next year’s fiscal budget priorities, with a focus on meeting legal obligations, as well as short-term and long-term priorities.
The Board approved budget goals and policies, as well as budget balancing strategies and approaches. The Board also directed County staff to focus on the following areas as they develop the budget for the fiscal year 2019-20, which begins July 1, 2019:
Budget for the County’s legal obligations, which includes any local, State and Federal mandates and debts the County is required to pay.
Prioritize the following short-term initiatives specific to the next fiscal year:     
The Stepping Up Initiative and jail medical care
Affordable housing
Cannabis code enforcement
Groundwater sustainability plans
Economic development activities and plans
Prioritize for the following long-term programs, which tend to be priorities of the Board year after year:     
Public safety services, such as law enforcement and offender rehabilitation services.
Road maintenance, construction and repair
“Obtaining the Board’s direction on their goals for the coming year helps departments develop their budget submittals and sets the course for the County’s future,” said County Administrative Office Wade Horton.
County officials project next fiscal year’s expenses to outpace incoming revenue by anywhere from $5 million to $10 million, according to the County’s financial forecast presented to the Board of Supervisors in October. The County Administrative Office will use the Board-approved budget balancing strategies and approaches to balance next year’s budget and close this projected gap.
County department staff members have already begun early budget preparations. The County Administrative Office will begin its review of departmental budget requests at the end of January and provide the Board and public with an updated financial outlook early next calendar year, based upon budget requests submitted by County departments.
Using these requests as well as the Board’s goals and priorities, the County Administrative Office will recommend a balanced budget for FY 2019-20 to the Board of Supervisors in May. The public budget hearing will take place over several days in June.

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