The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Tuesday began four days of hearings to discuss a $1.8 billion recommended budget for fiscal year 2012-2013.
San Mateo County Manager Jeff Maltbie opened today's round of budget hearings with cautious optimism, saying that in the coming fiscal year, indications are that the county will experience "increased revenue growth and stabilized county finances."
Maltbie said that although the Board of Supervisors continues to draw on county reserves in order to pass its yearly budget and preserve services, progress continues to be made toward tackling an ongoing structural
deficit, which is projected to be as high as $41 million by fiscal year 2016-2017 if no action is taken.
"The fact is that we are spending down our reserves at a slower rate that previously anticipated," Maltbie said. "We're making progress on the structural deficit."
Maltbie partially credited the increased revenues to the passage of Measure T in the June 5 election, a new tax on car rental businesses that is projected to bring in nearly $8 million to the county budget. When he released the recommended budget last month, Maltbie confirmed that the county would likely be eliminating nearly 240 jobs in the coming fiscal year, most of them nurses or medical staff employed at the Burlingame Long-Term Care assisted living center.
The Board of Supervisors voted in February to close the facility and relocate its 230 residents, citing an outdated building that is not up to modern seismic and safety requirements.
San Mateo County Health System Chief Jean Fraser Tuesday afternoon confirmed the job losses, saying that closing the long-term care facility and the overall higher cost of medical supplies contributed to a difficult budgeting year in the health department.
"I have to say, this is the most daunting year for us in health care," Fraser said.
Budget discussions are scheduled to continue with the budgets of the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder, Treasurer-Tax
Collector and Information Services.
--Bay City News