Placer County's lean budget for 2010-11 now official

Supes approve Community Development Resource Agency, CEO's office management reorganization
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County supervisors adopted a new $757.7 million budget today that dips into reserves and carry-overs from savings last year to stay balanced. Providing a spending plan for the county through the 2010-11 fiscal year that ends next June, the budget is down 3.3 per cent from last year’s $783.9 million. County Executive Officer Tom Miller reported that the recession has been deeper and longer-lasting than originally predicted and the use of fund balance carryovers and reserves might continue for a number of years. That will mean the county and its departments will need to seek more operational cost-cutting measures, he said. The county is operating with fewer workers than last year. The number of funded positions has dropped from 2,473 in 2009-10 to 2,432 in the budget adopted Tuesday. Board Chairman Kirk Uhler noted that while the number of paid workers is down, the county is still working with higher costs. Among the agenda information items Tuesday was a list of 50 unionized employees who were granted 5 percent merit wage increases in September. The lowest is an increase of $18.75 an hour to $19.69 for a journeywoman secretary. The highest is to an associate engineer, with a wage increase from $45.12 an hour to $47.38 an hour. Even with the “wiping out” of over 40 positions and savings achieved by imposition of $3.5 million in contract adjustments earlier this month, Uhler said the county would still be spending $1 million more than last year for salaries and benefits. In other board business today: - David Tellman and Doug Van Breemen were presented with plaques as Placer County Prosecutor of the Year Award honorees. - Supervisors approved management-position shifts in the Community Development Resource Agency that include the promotion of Loren Clarke to the newly created assistant director post at a monthly salary between $10,095 and $12,269. The planning director post will remain vacant and the chief building official position has been downgraded from department director. Michael Johnson, agency director, said the changes should save about $250,000. Uhler said that, including benefits, the savings could reach $430,000 annually. No new personnel are being hired as part of the changes, Johnson said. - The board OK’d a $1.8 million change order on the South Placer jail to upgrade plans for food service equipment. The funding will be shifted from money previously earmarked for the Burton Creek Justice Center project in the Tahoe area. The $79 million jail is under construction and expected to be open by 2012. - Supervisors voted to not refill the chief assistant executive officer post held by Rich Colwell before his retirement last December and downgrade an assistant county executive officer position held by Mike Boyle until his retirement this month. The moves are part of a streamlining plan that leaves Miller with one assistant CEO rather than three.