At their most recent meeting, the Inyo County Supervisors signed off on a balanced, but tight, budget. With revenue down, Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio told the board that for the first time in 40 years citizens of Inyo County will see a reduction in county services.
Supervisors commended the staff and department heads that worked on this budget in what Carunchio called, trying times.
Of the roughly $80 million dollar budget, this year cuts in state funding left Inyo County $1 million short. There is also an additional $1.5 million in property tax that the county has to loan to the state.
The end result? 20 county jobs eliminated and two layoffs. Rather than cut staff, for years the county waits until a person quits, moves on or retires, than doesnt rehire that position, shrinking staff through attrition. In this new budget the two people who were laid off were put into other county positions so no one was left unemployed.
Where the residents will see the reduction in services provided by the county is tough to pin down, since the cuts are across the board. Carunchio says that residents may see a general slowing. At the board meeting, Supervisor Linda Arcularius explained that residents who expected the county to respond quickly and efficiently may now hear, gosh well have to get to it in a week.
Carunchio says that the most glaring cut will be from a program called linkages, which provided in-home support services for the elderly population.
In other departments, work may take longer as employees do more with less. At the road department for example, Carunchio explained that three positions were eliminated, including a heavy equipment operator and a heavy equipment mechanic. The positions were vacant, but Carunchio says that this is not a good thing.
After years of trying to starve the beast, and shrink the government, the efforts appear to have worked. Carunchio says that government revenues have been dropping over the last 40 years, when inflation is taken into account. He says that the government has done a good job keeping up until this year.
With 20 county jobs permanently eliminated, Supervisor Arcularius stated, Weve heard that the taxpayers want us to live within our means, adding that, Inyo County government is smaller.
The budget was approved 5-0.