The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to approve a balanced budget totaling $1,221,251,032 for fiscal year 2022-23, representing a 19.2% increase over FY 2021-22.
The increase is attributed to inflationary costs and the addition of staffing to deliver services in key strategic areas of county operations. These cost increases are primarily offset with additional property and sales tax revenues related to the growing local economy. State and federal grant revenues have also increased to offset the growing cost of health and human services and public safety programs. Also included in the budget is an increase of $99.1 million in capital projects, which are funded by bond financing, capital reserves and state grants.
Budget expenditures reflect the county’s priorities of public health and safety with approximately 44% of overall spending dedicated to the support of health and human services and public protection, including a 10.2% budget increase to the Placer County Health and Human Services Department.
“I am proud that our county is in a strong financial position and can adequately serve its residents by providing comprehensive county services,” said District 5 Supervisor and Board Chair Cindy Gustafson. “Our state partners are pessimistic about the economy in the coming fiscal year and it’s imperative that we be prepared to backfill our services with reserve funds should the state decrease its budget allocations to counties.”
Saving for a rainy day has also been part of the county’s fiscal planning process for many years and achieving and maintaining a 10% budget reserve has been a top priority. The county has surpassed its goal by about $10 million with a projected General Fund Reserve of $69.7 million.
“We are a county that has earned a long-standing reputation for being fiscally conservative and I think that is a fundamental responsibility of the board,” said District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt. “Our budget is in great shape but this is a weird economy and we have to monitor it closely to ensure we course correct quickly should county revenues fail to meet projections.”
Property tax, the county’s largest discretionary revenue source, is estimated to increase by 5.8% in FY 2022-23, continuing its upward trend. Sales taxes, transient occupancy “lodging” taxes and othe revenue sources driven by the economy are projected to remain stable.
“Placer County anticipated a reduction in its discretionary revenue last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic but those reductions did not materialize,” said Deputy County Executive Officer Daniel Chatigny. “The unemployment rate also turned around much faster than expected. As of April 2022, the unemployment rate was at 2.4% down from its peak in April 2020 of 13.3%.”
In order to keep up with the county’s growth, the budget includes 76 new positions with more than half allocated to the public health and safety sectors. Most notably, the District Attorney’s Office will receive additional staffing for a Community Prosecution Unit and the Sheriff’s Office will receive additional staffing to manage their new body-worn cameras program. Health and Human Services will receive 27 new positions to expand community programs and the Office of Emergency Services will receive additional staffing to support a series of wildfire prevention initiatives.
Approved along with the budget are two five-year capital improvement plans, one for facilities and the other for countrywide improvements.
The facilities plan includes approximately $68 million for construction of a new Health and Human Services building, which broke ground in February and when complete in the fall of 2023 will bring all HHS programs and services under one roof and provide additional convenience to residents.
A total of $8.5 million has also been allocated to finish the renovation of a warehouse for the new Clerk -Recorder Elections Office in Rocklin. Additionally, $33 million has been earmarked for a new Mental Health Facility and a Vocational Training and Medium Security Facility at the South Placer Jail in Roseville.
The countywide plan includes $61 million in roads, bridges and transportation projects and $8.8 million in park projects including Hidden Falls, Dry Creek Park and Martis Valley Trail.
The budget also includes nearly $78 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. This funding has been allocated to COVID response, construction of infrastructure, affordable housing and broadband service improvements.
The county’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The approved budget will serve as the new spending plan when the next fiscal year begins July 1.