The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will hold budget workshops on
April 12, 14 and 16, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. The public is encouraged to follow the proceedings via the County’s website ("Web Broadcasts"), YouTube and on cable TV channel 20. To watch in Spanish, Cox and Comcast subscribers can enable SAP in their language settings.
The budget workshops provide an opportunity for the Board to receive information and provide direction to staff, as appropriate, on particular policy issues that affect department budgets.
This year, the workshops include special issue reports on:
- Jail Population, Diversion and Collaborative Justice
- Main Jail Staffing and Facility Assessment Alternatives
- Capital and Deferred Maintenance Projects and Funding Sources
- Digital Transformation Projects
The public is encouraged to watch the workshops and provide input on ideas being developed by staff to fund vital services. The submitted department budgets and revenue estimates remain subject to change until the tax roll is completed and the State budget is adopted. Final budget decisions will be made on June 8, or June 10 if needed, when the Board holds its budget adoption hearing.
County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato noted that now, one year after the pandemic began, the preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22 is built with a positive and stable outlook for the upcoming year.
“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,” said Miyasato.
The preliminary budget reflects the County’s stable fiscal position, with revenues expected to meet current operational needs and no anticipated service level reductions. State, federal, and local revenues are expected to be sufficient to accommodate the current level of service, with some modest service expansions to meet mandates or critical needs next year.
Nancy Anderson, Assistant County Executive Officer who serves as Budget Director, said, “The County’s preliminary operating budget reflects the third year in a row that service level reductions are not proposed by any County department. Despite the pandemic, property tax and sales tax revenue have remained stable with modest growth, and cannabis revenue has continued to exceed estimates.
“Critical federal and state resources for pandemic relief minimized anticipated budget gaps and reserve uses to cover response efforts, further stabilizing the fiscal outlook. All of these resources have been essential to offset increasing costs and to meet critical department needs. The preliminary budget incorporates the Board’s policies on program-based budgeting, fiscal stability, identifying and mitigating fiscal risks, and maintaining prudent reserves, while continuing to improve efficiencies through Renew ’22 initiatives.”
Miyasato added, “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 pandemic caused an acceleration of Renew ’22, which was initiated in 2017 to fortify the organization against the next economic or natural emergency.
“The County has been relatively fortunate in that our major revenue sources have remained stable over the past year. Nevertheless, we have continued to pursue efficiencies and improvements in the way we do business to help position us to mitigate or avoid the difficult funding choices that were necessary during the last recession. In alignment with Renew ’22 priorities over the past year, departments spearheaded innovative efforts to be more efficient in work processes and serving their customers and clients, with many critical services migrated online during the pandemic.”
The County’s positive and stable fiscal outlook results from years of prioritizing key projects, careful planning, managing resources, and preparing for the future. As our community begins to emerge and recover from the impacts of the pandemic, the County will continue to follow responsible fiscal practices that will further strengthen our financial position against future economic impacts, including the following:
The recommended budget is scheduled to be released in May and presented to the Board on June 8 and if needed, on June 10.
- Ensuring use of one-time funds for one-time (not ongoing) uses, including federal and State funding for pandemic response and critical infrastructure projects
- Setting aside funding for initiatives that have been identified as highest priority, including technology enhancements and capital needs
- Continuing efficiencies and process improvements, and training employees to be able to identify and implement opportunities for improved operations and innovative solutions