BY JEFF HORSEMAN
STAFF WRITER
jhorseman@pe.com

Published: 08 June 2012 06:59 PM

Riverside County supervisors will review a recommended budget that, unlike recent editions, doesn’t dip into reserves to make ends meet.

But that doesn’t mean the spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 will stay balanced. A projected $10 million drop in property tax revenues could open another hole, and at least 229 county workers are losing their jobs as the county faces a sluggish economic recovery and tens of millions of dollars in new spending mandates.

The Board of Supervisors on Monday, June 11, will hold a public hearing on the fiscal 2012-13 budget. Sheriff Stan Sniff and District Attorney Paul Zellerbach are expected to testify at the hearing, which starts at 9 a.m. at the County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon St. in Riverside.

Supervisors will approve a final budget Sept. 11, once there’s a firm handle on what money’s coming in and how Sacramento’s budget and the statewide dissolution of redevelopment agencies will affect the county.

The proposed budget would reduce overall spending 8.6 percent to roughly $4.7 billion. Most of that amount pays for required programs such as health care for the poor and elderly and other public assistance. Discretionary spending directly controlled by supervisors and used to fund core services such as law enforcement is expected to drop $36.1 million to $613.6 million in fiscal 2012-13.

In a letter to the Board of Supervisors, County Executive Officer Jay Orr wrote the county “must be willing to continue adjusting operating costs” to eliminate its structural deficit. In May, he warned that more layoffs are likely, although the exact number hasn’t been determined.

The county in the past five years has lost $230 million in ongoing revenue as the economy fell into recession. Recent county budgets have used savings to erase shortfalls. But officials have warned that practice isn’t sustainable.

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