The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will be holding three budget workshops to discuss fiscal year 2021-22 beginning Monday.
The budget workshops provide an opportunity for the board to receive information and provide direction to staff on certain policy issues that affect department budgets, and the public is encouraged to watch the workshops to provide input on ideas to fund critical services, according to county spokeswoman Gina DePinto.
Monday’s workshop will discuss departmental budgets for public safety and policy executive services, including the Public Defender’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Fire Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the Board of Supervisors and the County Executive Office, among others.
The workshop will include special reports on jail population, diversion and collaborative justice, as well as Main Jail staffing and facility assessment alternatives.
Wednesday’s workshop will go over departmental budgets for health and human services departments and community resources and public facilities departments. Some of the departments included in Wednesday’s workshop include Child Support Services, First 5 Santa Barbara County, Public Health, Community Services, Planning and Development and Public Works.
Friday’s workshop will discuss departmental budgets for general government and support services and other items under the County Executive Office. Some of the budgets include the Auditor-Controller, Human Resources, General Services, and general county and fund balances.
That workshop will include special reports on capital and deferred maintenance projects and funding sources as well as digital transformation projects.
County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato said the preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year is built with a positive and stable outlook. The preliminary budget reflects the county’s stable fiscal position, with revenues expected to meet current operational needs, DePinto said.
State, federal and local revenues for fiscal year 2021-22 are also expected to be sufficient to accommodate the current level of service, with some modest service expansions, she added.
“The county’s positive and stable fiscal outlook results from years of prioritizing key projects, careful planning, managing resources and preparing for the future,” DePinto said.
“As the economy continues to reopen, and with vaccinations for all Californians on the horizon, we see this as a time of recovery and resilience for our community,” Miyasato said. “During the last year, we prepared and positioned ourselves to adopt new practices, be responsive and resilient, and rethink what the public needs and expects of us.”
The county will continue to follow responsible fiscal practices as the community begins to emerge from the novel coronavirus pandemic, DePinto said.
It will ensure the use of one-time funds for one-time uses, set aside funding for initiatives that have been identified as highest priority, continue efficiencies and process improvements, and training employees to be able to identify and implement opportunities for improved operations and innovative solutions, she added.
The recommended budget is scheduled to be released in May, and final budget decisions will be made at the Board of Supervisors budget adoption hearings on June 8 and June 10.