Nevada County supervisors OK salary freeze, more may come
Sun News Service
NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. and#8212; In the face of a $5.5 million shortfall in next yearand#8217;s budget, Nevada County supervisors agreed to salary concessions offered by management employees in the Sheriffand#8217;s Office.
Similar concessions in other departments are expected to avoid some layoffs as county administrators look to close the gap, officials said Tuesday.
County officials have pointed to three solutions to the deficit and#8212; spending reductions, employee negotiations and use of reserve funds.
The countyand#8217;s deficit is projected for the 2011-12 fiscal year starting July 1, assuming spending levels in the current fiscal year continue. Projected revenue declines for next year reflect an expected decrease in property taxes and other sources of income.
Nevada Countyand#8217;s total budget for the 2010-11 year is $182 million. But local leaders only have control over a subset of that amount: The general fund budget of about $61 million, which pays for most salaries and services not covered by state or federal grants.
By giving up pay raises scheduled for next year, 21 managers in the Sheriffand#8217;s Office will save the county about $138,000.
In addition, new hires into the group, which include captains, lieutenants and sergeants, would contribute 9 percent to their pension fund; previously, employees made no contributions to the fund.
In a unanimous decision, the countyand#8217;s Board of Supervisors supported the concession at its Tuesday meeting.
The reduction offer and#8220;exhibits exceptional leadership,and#8221; said District 5 Supervisor Ted Owens.
Reductions such as these can help to offset the severity of layoffs, said county CEO Rick Haffey.
and#8220;We may see more of these, and we may have one in the pipeline for our Jan. 11 meeting,and#8221; Haffey said. He did not elaborate on which department could be next.
So far, the county has cut about $359,000 against next yearand#8217;s expected deficit, said Deputy County Executive Officer Joe Christoffel.
Property tax revenues are down 7.5 percent this year and account for most of the countyand#8217;s deficit.
In other board business, supervisors agreed to consolidate the countyand#8217;s subsidized Section 8 housing program with the Consolidated Area Housing Authority of Sutter County. The Federal Section 8 program provides subsidized housing to 295 low-income Nevada County families.
The consolidation plan must still gain approval from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
At first, the county would subcontract program administration to the Sutter County agency before turning it over fully midway through 2011, said Health and Human Services Director Jeff Brown.
The program is too expensive to administer for such a relatively small caseload, Brown said. It is costing Nevada County $253,700 to run the program this year. The savings provided by the move arenand#8217;t yet known, Brown said.
Tuesday marked District 3 Supervisor John Spencerand#8217;s final board meeting. Terry Lamphier defeated Spencer in June and swears into office Jan. 3.
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