Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed | SierraSun.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed

John Orona
Special to the Sierra Sun

BY THE NUMBERS

Nevada County total operating budget

2010: $185.4 million

2020: $257.9 million

Total property tax revenue

2010: $37.63 million

2020: $46.14 million

Total annual sales tax revenue

2010: $2.72 million

2020: $4.13 million

Total annual Transient Occupancy Tax

2010: $294,851.97

2020: $577,052

Total general fund

2010: $19.67 million

2020: $29.7 million

With the state moving into Stage Two of recovery and allowing more businesses to reopen this week, Nevada County officials say the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to bring cuts to county staffing levels or essential services in the near future.

Instead, the county will look to reduce expenditures 5-10% across all departments, Board of Supervisors chairwoman Heidi Hall said, in an attempt to account for a projected 30-40% loss in economic activity dependent tax revenue over the next four to six months.

The county projected 2019-20 sales tax revenue to be more than $4 million, meaning the county could miss out on about $800,000 in revenue over the rest of the year, which according to the budget would fund projects like road engineering, transit services, social services, and health and human services.

According to Chief Fiscal Officer Martin Polt, the county has the ability to approach its immediate economic challenges thoughtfully thanks to disciplined fiscal planning since the Great Recession, including reducing the county’s workforce from 986 full-time equivalent employees in 2007-08 to 801 today.

Support Local Journalism


“… the county is anticipating adjustments to expenditures and use of some fund balances that have been built up for these difficult times.” — Martin Polt, Nevada County chief fiscal officer

However, in the last decade the county has increasingly relied on general fund revenue, funded through local taxes, to support critical programs in core departments, budget documents state.

The county is preparing an updated budget that will go before supervisors next month that will address potential shortfalls from the impact of COVID-19.

“During these financially uncertain times and the economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the county is anticipating adjustments to expenditures and use of some fund balances that have been built up for these difficult times,” Polt said in a statement.

While in the next two fiscal quarters sales, gas and transient occupancy tax revenue may decline, Polt said pension costs, projected to reach $30 million in the next four years, and the possibility of diminishing property taxes are perilous concerns in the long run.

CONCERNS

In the 2019-20 budget, property tax revenues at $46 million accounted for more than 18% of the county’s total funding, the second-largest revenue source next to state and federal allocations.

During the last recession, which officially began December 2007, property tax revenues were not affected immediately, with the county seeing revenues continue to increase until the 2010-11 fiscal year when they fell to $35.13 million from $37.63 million the previous year.

The next year property tax revenues fell 7.5%, resulting in a $5.5 million deficit which led the county to eliminate 32 positions after cutting 64 in the two years before.

According to the California Department of Finance Spring Outlook, in the next year median home prices could fall anywhere from 0.7-5.7%, with the a potential resurgence of COVID-19 cases and consumer confidence being driving variables.

The outlook describes fiscal challenges likely to persist for years, with state deficits projected into 2023-24 even in the most conservative estimates with a full return to economic activity by the end of the summer.

The report suggests dramatic cuts to school and county government funding could be considered if the state does not receive enough federal help to pay for things like state health programs. More than 40% of the county’s revenue — $102,543,021 — comes from federal and state sources, which helps fund departments like elections, community development, environmental health, and public safety.

The outlook also predicts unemployment rising to between 9-11% and wages decreasing 5-8% in 2021.

Gov. Gavin Newsom will release his budget revisions Thursday, which are expected to reveal a $54 billion deficit after beginning the year with a $5.6 billion surplus. The revision will inform the county’s update.

“There remains significant uncertainty about how long and deep this recession will be,” Polt said.

MORE IN THIS SERIES

Lost summer? COVID-19 crisis leaves Truckee, Tahoe events in limbo, if not already canceled

Shifting gears: With marquee Tahoe events canceled, organizers look to salvage season

As restrictions ease, nonprofits get to work

Tahoe-Truckee strong: Community supports struggling nonprofits while pondering ‘When will this all end?’

Court in (modified) session: Nevada County Superior Court set to return to Truckee with change in approach

Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed

‘Poking the bear’: Tahoe’s North Shore supervisor stands against colleague’s threat to sue governor

Tahoe region dentists forced to adjust operations amid COVID-19

Truckee, Tahoe health-care providers pivot to new approaches amid pandemic

Increase in tests propels California into Stage 2

From my computer to yours – Namaste: Tahoe yoga studios shift to online practice

Dealing with ‘a sense of uncertainty’: Officials concerned about Truckee’s health and well-being through traumatic times

Nevada County not planning to release more detailed case data

‘Take this seriously’: Tahoe’s essential businesses share what they’ve learned with those yet to reopen

The future of Tahoe travel: Airport ‘ghost town’ expects long route back to normal

Rising demand in Tahoe region real estate out of COVID-19 shutdown

Truckee moves into Stage 2, economic impacts still uncertain

Determining the depth: Placer County measures COVID-19’s hit to budget

Town of Truckee officials eye short-term budget plans amid COVID-19

Businesses struggle navigating economic relief

Food service industry, grocery stores adopt local solutions to sustain operations, nourish Truckee

INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT: Truckee, Tahoe lean on small business as backbone of economy amid coronavirus crisis

RELATED RESOURCES

http://www.SierraSun.com/coronavirus

http://www.MyNevadaCounty.com/coronavirus

Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses/Employers

Nevada County Relief Fund for Covid-19

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


 

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User