Financial Summary

Proposed FY 2022-23 Budget

The Proposed 2022-23 Budget incorporates the Board’s priorities for the coming year based on the adopted Strategic Plan and the two-year Operational Plan. This budget also continues the strong and prudent financial practices that have allowed the County to achieve our AAA bond rating and maintain minimum level of budget reserves to help assure the continuity of public services during economic downturns.

Chart A: The Proposed 2022-23 Budget recommends investments aligned with the County’s strategic and operational plans, and continues strong and prudent financial practices.

The budget recommends more investments in our public safety and other County services.

  • Transitioning to a fully staffed Public Defenders Office.
  • Continuing progress on Juvenile Hall facility upgrades.
  • Financing essential infrastructure improvements in our detention facilities including providing backup generators.
  • Providing investments in Sheriff staffing resources.
  • Providing resources for the District Attorney to address case backlogs.
  • Providing for the new Pretrial Services Division within the Probation Department to work with Superior Court.
  • Implementing the new Community Development and Infrastructure department, which combines Public Works together with Planning to better serve residents and incorporate the Unified Permit Center.
  • Providing increased investments in the County workforce.
  • Continuing progress towards the Summer 2023 opening of the new South County Service Center.
  • Expanding broadband to help bridge the digital divide.
  • Developing an apprenticeship program to provide a pathway for residents into public service.
  • Supporting recovery of woman and minority owned small businesses in the early education/childcare sector.

General Fund Services and Forecast

The General Fund encompasses most of the County services which are financed by both general-purpose revenues and restricted resources. Chart B allows you to view additional layers below General Fund expenses by government area to expenses by department or by services. The County will now track performance at the service level, creating a more direct relationship between the County Budget and Operational Plan.

Chart B: The General Fund provides for community services including public benefits, behavioral health, public safety, and community development and infrastructure.

General Fund Forecast

Developing a forecast serves two purposes: (a) assessing the medium-term financial sustainability of the County’s services and (b) understanding the impact of today’s decisions on the future. The County forecast of net discretionary resources in Chart C shows estimated expenses outpacing estimated net remaining revenues over the next five years ending at $9.7 million in FY 2025-26. This assumes existing levels of staffing and services but before factoring in the risk of an economic slowdown, required investments in aging county facilities, or response to climate change-related hazards or other emergency events.

Although revenue growth is projected to increase and has returned to pre-pandemic levels, it is not increasing at the pace of expenses, especially salaries and benefits (See below for further discussion of specific revenues and expenses).

Net discretionary resources compare the total amount of General Fund Discretionary Revenue (General Fund Financing) that is available to finance the likely level of future County operations, capital investments or reserves costs (General Fund Uses).

This forecast, if left unchanged, would require service reductions and/or additional revenues to be sustainable.

Chart C: The County projects future gaps with status quo financing and uses


Salaries and Benefits

County expenses are driven primarily by the personnel costs required to deliver the programs and provide the services our community needs. The Proposed Budget increases funded staffing by 48.30 positions for a total of 2,723.21 positions, or a 1.8% increase. The largest increase of 45.50 positions is within Public Safety and Justice, where the creation of a new Public Defender’s Office will bring more transparency and accountability to local indigent defense.

Chart D shows the increase in salaries and benefits over time, increasing between 7-9% per year. These increases are predominantly driven by the growing costs of healthcare and pensions, in addition to the County’s current memoranda of understanding with employee bargaining units that include general wage increases.

Chart D: With minimal new staffing, the County’s increasing salary and benefit costs provide mostly for existing staff.

Services and Supplies

This category is following a similar growth pattern, increasing between 7-9% per year on average. These costs are driven primarily by two factors: costs for contracted services, and cost of goods, commodities, and equipment. Inflation in the second half of FY 2021-22 has driven up costs for both contracted services (local salaries for service providers) and goods due to global and national impacts presented in the Economic Outlook section.


General County Revenues

General County Revenues, made up of primarily property tax, vehicle license fee, sales tax, tax on visitor over-night stays, and cannabis, support the County’s share of State mandated health and welfare programs, the justice system, and other community benefits. Although justice system departments use a greater share of General County Revenues, Health and Human Services mandates must be met first. You can learn more about General County Revenues here: Your Tax Dollars at Work 

The County’s primary General County Revenues are meeting budget expectations, and have generally recovered to their pre-pandemic growth rates. The County Board of Supervisors has recommended increasing the County’ transient occupancy tax as one measure to increase revenues to meet current demands, and allow the County to make much needed infrastructure investments. Chart E shows how General County Revenues have supported County services over time, with most increases going to support local public safety.

Chart E: General County Revenues mainly support public safety, and mandated local match for State and federal support of public benefits and health services.

Federal and State Allocations

Between March 2020 and March 2021, the federal government provided nearly $5.8 trillion in aid to the U.S. economy, including the $1.9 trillion ARPA signed into law on March 11, 2021. As included in the ARPA plan update to the Board on February 1, 2022, the County has received $26,534,211 of its total ARPA allocation of $53,068,442. However, counites, unlike many other agencies, are mandated to fund expanded pandemic response services. For our County, this resulted in less ARPA uses for internal pandemic costs.   

On October 19, 2021, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011) that provides flexibility for use of unallocated ARPA funding. Subsequently, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced companion legislation (H.R. 5735). While this act would not provide any new funding, and the County is expected to fully use all its ARPA allocation, should the County end up with unallocated ARPA funding, this act would provide additional flexibility in using any un-allocated funds. 

Chart F: Intergovernmental revenues are projected to increase, driven by a growing State economy .

On January 11, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2022-23 Proposed Budget for the State of California. The State continues to see strong growth in its revenues from high income earners that drive capital gains and sales taxes. Although this growth is leading to continued historic budget surpluses, it was noted that these revenue streams are volatile and approaching levels seen within the last two decades preceding recessions. Projections were also finalized before the surge of the Omicron variant, adding uncertainty to the State’s recovery trajectory as issues surrounding low labor force participation, high inflation and supply chain issues persist.  

The Governor's January estimate is for the State to have a $45.7 billion surplus, of which $20.6 billion remains discretionary. Resources are proposed to address what the Governor dubbed the ‘five existential threats’ facing the State: the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness, climate change, affordability, and crime. Many of the new spending proposed builds on initiative started in the previous fiscal year.  

County formula funding projections reflects the State’s strong recovery with 1991 and 2011 realignment expected to grow 6.4% growth in current year and 3.9% in 2022-23. Gasoline excise tax is projected to grow 9.1% from current year to next year, fully funding the Highway User Tax Account and 70% of the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account (RMRA).  


County General Fund Reserves allow the County to weather events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly frequent wildfires. Financial stability also allows the County to borrow at better interest rates to invest in current community services. The County has a stated Fund Balance of Committed and Assigned target that is 7% of General Fund revenues. For FY 2022-23 that target is $46.2 million. The proposed budget plans for a Fund Balance of Committed/Assigned of $71.0 million, or 10.8% of General Fund revenues. However, after deducting for Fund Balance dedicated for health services Medi-Cal service delivery, the remainder of available General Fund reserves would be $40.9 million. This amount as compared to General Fund expenditures would be 6.0% or would be equivalent to 2.8 pay periods.

The County continues to be committed to its 7% Fund Balance target, but has learned from the dual emergency response of the COVID-19 pandemic and August 2020 wildfires, this reserve was insufficient and the calculation should be based on operating expenditures. The County anticipates updating the Fund Balance and reserve policy during FY 2022-23. Chart G details the County reserves and their designations.

Chart G: County reserves are rebuilding after the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 wildfires.

Enterprise Funds and Special Funds

Enterprise funds are established to account for operations that are financed and operated in a manner similar to private businesses like water utilities or transit systems, and financed primarily through user charges. The County also maintains several special district and special revenue funds where the revenue sources are legally restricted to specific purposes, or to a specific geographical area.

Enterprise Funds

The County’s biggest enterprise fund activity is garbage disposal through County Service Area 9C, which provides for garbage collection in the unincorporated area of the county, as well as operation of the Buena Vista Landfill and Ben Lomond Transfer station. Key projects within this fund include the permitting of an organic waste processing facility, and planning for the eventual closure of the Buena Vista Landfill. 

Smaller enterprise funds include the Freedom Sanitation District, the Davenport Sanitation District, and several other sanitation funds that ensure small systems and individual septic systems are functioning properly. Chart H shows a breakdown of County fund expenses.

Chart H: Many County funds are restricted to specific activities and geographic areas.

Special Revenue and Special District Funds

Special Revenue funds are comprised of primarily the Road Fund, which supports the maintenance of over 600 miles of County roads. Housing funds dedicated to supporting low and mid-income housing projects, and park dedication funds to support construction and maintenance of County parks are also included in these funds.  

Special District funds are dedicated to a variety of activities including flood control, fire protection, mosquito and vector control, and various small road maintenance districts. County debt service is also accounted for within these funds, with a full detail provided here: County Debt Service 

Finally, less than countywide funds support dedicated funding for libraries and County Fire Department.

Documents and Reports

Transparency Portal

Through a new partnership with OpenGov, the County has moved to a primarily web-based budget presentation. The charts on this page, and throughout this website, provide targeted views of the County’s budget. The public can create almost any view of the County’s budget through the County’s new transparency portal.  

Previously, the County relied on separate and manual systems and countless spreadsheet and publishing tools to develop the Proposed, Supplementals, and Last Day budget information. The County also lacked an adequate system to provide in a single source the evolution of the Proposed Budget and has identified the need to modernize the budgetary tools for monitoring the status and life cycle of each Capital Project. Chart I below provides access and a small guided tour through the transparency portal.

Chart I: Explore the entire County budget through the OpenGov Transparency Portal.