County Challenges: Budget Cuts, Affordable Care Act
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CREATED Mar. 12, 2013
Riverside County continues to face budget struggles, and the big challenge of implementing the Affordable Health Care Act.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors cut two vacant executive positions, and lowered the salaries of five others to save half a million dollars this year.
The jobs were in the transportation and land management unit.
So far this year, the county has downsized by 33 employees.
Balancing Riverside County's budget, continues to be a struggle.
Since 2007, the county has suffered layoffs and cutbacks.
"We are hoping that we are getting close to the bottom, but the problem is county revenues are hugely based, something in the neighborhood of 70 percent on property taxes, and as you know property tax values have dropped dramatically," said Riverside County District 4 Supervisor, John Benoit.
Supervisor Benoit told me that while nearly five billion flows through the county for federal and state programs they administer, the board only has about 700 million dollars in general funds to work with.
"We are constantly looking at ways to be more efficient, and still provide the service, the flip side of that is within the last month we've laid off another ten code enforcement officers in the county, so our ability to respond to requests of code enforcement of all sorts violations is once again reduced," said Benoit.
And there are challenges ahead, one is saving money to pay more than 300 positions at the new detention center in Indio once it opens.
And California's budget plan can change the county's outlook.
"The state of California is always a concern as they work their way through their budget, historically they have made themselves in a little better place by putting more burden on local government."
And Supervisor Benoit says the topic of the year will be implementing the Affordable Care Act.
"There are so many questions and so many complexities to this yet, and depending on how well we handle those in resolve them, we could either end up with a slight benefit or huge deficit in medical care, and the answers are still to be found," said the supervisor.
Benoit says the public will benefit from the new UCR Medical School, and a couple new clinics to be opened in the desert.
Riverside County will have more budget hearings, present a preliminary budget in early June and then make adjustments according to the state budget.