The Inyo County government budget adds up to almost $79 million for the new fiscal year. County Administrator Kevin Carunchio said the budget is smaller than last year and does not create “too much pain.”
Budget hearings start today after the Supervisors meeting. Carunchio said that the budget does not fund all needs and there are cuts, but the budget does contribute to some important things like retirees’ health insurance, re-roofing of the courthouse annex.
Carunchio said not filling vacant positions helps save money. Last year, he said, the County did not fill 20 positions. This year, three. He pointed out that the general fund amounts to nearly $50 million but almost half of that revenue comes from other government agencies, mostly the state. Property taxes and other taxes amount to 33% of the general fund. So, the Supervisors do not have much say over many millions.
The big unknown – the state budget. Carunchio said that since the county needs reimbursement on 47% of the general fund, there could be cash flow issues. He said Inyo will monitor cash flow as they wait for the state to come jup with a budget.
Employee negotiations are still going on, but Carunchio said the budget is not based on any decrease or increase in employee costs.
At the Supervisors regular meeting today, Carunchio did plan to continue a public hearing on a $3 million solar project to create more than 600 kilowatts of power. Panels will go on the roofs of the administrative center, the courthouse annex, the health department building. Solar panels will also power the jail and juvenile hall.
Carunchio said he needs more definite financial information and hoped to continue the issue to the September 14th Supervisors’ meeting.
He did say that the solar project should save over $100,000 per year in electrical costs and will protect against future power rate hikes by DWP.