Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 2:55 pm | Overcast with Haze 66º

 
 
 
 

Local News

County’s Budget Picture Brighter Than Expected

Quarterly report to Board of Supervisors indicates a surplus of $5.9 million

Santa Barbara County’s budget picture may not be as dismal as expected, according to an update given to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The county’s General Fund continues to show improvement, with an estimated surplus of $5.9 million. That additional money is due in part to unanticipated vehicle license fees and increased bed taxes. The county’s property tax numbers are also on track, and the other part of that savings comes from salary and benefit reductions.

That’s on top of $8.1 million in concessions various county labor groups have given up, according to Tom Alvarez, assistant director of the county’s Finance Department.

Of the county’s 69 departments, most are doing well, but two continue to struggle. Public Health and Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services are facing multimillion-dollar budget deficits.

Public Health is looking at a $2.6 million gap. The department has been transitioning its paper medical records into electronic files, which has had an impact on productivity, Alvarez said. The department is also seeing fewer clients overall, as competition for Medi-Cal patients increases, particularly in North County.

Many health-care providers are serving fewer privately insured patients and are going more aggressively after Medi-Cal patients.

ADMHS is facing as much as a $12.4 million deficit, more than half of which could be related to delayed payments from the state.

That department will be coming back before the supervisors next week to talk about a firmer budget picture on those liabilities. 

Though exactly how much the state will pay the county is unclear, the department is facing a budget gap of about $3.5 million going forward that will have to be addressed.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >