Officials in the San Bernardino County Government Center are seeing all red these days.
A lack of preparation combined with bad assumptions has the county facing a budget deficit in its next fiscal year, which is currently approaching an estimated $90 million. A number that will likely climb as the impact of collapsed real estate values and a disastrous drop in retail sales is fully realized.
Property and retail sales taxes are the life blood of county governments.
However, San Bernardino County officials are only projecting a 6.7% drop in property tax revenue in 2010/11 followed by an increase of 2.0% in 2011/12 and each year after. On retail sales tax the county is projecting a 10.0% reduction in the current fiscal year, flat in 2010/11, and an increase of 2.0% in 2011/12.
County projections also indicate cumulative operating deficits of nearly $350 million over the next five years. The figure takes into account an expected return to growth in 2012 with approximately $47 million in positive revenue over the same period. Should the growth not return, the deficit widens further.