Workshops planned for this week
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will hold a series of budget workshops this week — and preliminary estimates are looking positive.
The county budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 is estimated to be $1.4 billion. And this will be the fourth consecutive year that no county departments will need to propose a service level reduction.
Budget workshops generally occur about one month before the release of the recommended budget and two months before budget hearings.
“Budget workshops are an opportunity to collaboratively craft a plan to create and sustain services critical to those we serve and also reimagine the possibilities of the future,” Chair Joan Hartmann told the News-Press. “I am very proud of the Board of Supervisors’ history of strong fiscal management, which has provided the county with the ability to continue critical services and also advance priorities to meet the emerging needs of our communities and forge a stable and hopeful future.”
Final budget decisions will be made on June 14-15 with the board slated to hold adoption hearings.
The budget has a three-pronged goal of resetting how work is handled through new technologies and hybrid teams; reimagining a more inclusive and equitable future that includes health, safety and combating climate change; and reconnecting with community members, residents and other individuals in the post-pandemic environment, according to the memo.
The general fund contribution costs will increase by $15.3 million to cover salary and benefits, operational changes, and other board policies, according to the memo.
“The County’s stable fiscal outlook results from strong fiscal management and prudent budgetary practices forged by the Board to promote resiliency and ensure future stability,” said a memo to the board regarding the budget. “The preliminary budget is balanced through careful consideration of Board policies and commitments, service level impacts and long-term sustainability.”
Today the board will review departmental budgets from Health and Human Services, which covers social services, behavioral wellness, public health, child support services and First 5 Santa Barbara County.
It will also review budgets related to the Auditor-Controller, Human Resources, General Services, Clerk-Recorder-Assessor and Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator offices.
On Tuesday, the board will review the Public Safety Department’s budget. Under its umbrella are the sheriff, district attorney, probation, public defender and fire departments.
The board will also be presented with budgets for Agriculture, Weights and Measures; Planning and Development; Community Services; and Public Works departments.
Additionally Tuesday, the board will hold public comment on maintenance and unfunded capital projects.
Thursday’s budget review will tackle the County Counsel, Board of Supervisors, County Executive Office and general county programs and fund balances.
Public comment will be heard Thursday on digital transformation updates and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
Overall, Santa Barbara County was allocated $86.7 million with another $82 million for local cities in ARPA fund distribution. The county has already received two tranches of funding and will consider the remaining $16.5 million during the budget workshops.
All of the meetings will begin at 9 a.m. and will be held on the fourth floor of the Santa Barbara County Administration Building at 105 E. Anapamu St.