Administrator talks “structural deficit”

CAO Kevin Carunchio

CAO Kevin Carunchio

Depending on how you look at things, Inyo County could be a total of $6.3 million in the hole in what the County Administrator called a “structural deficit” when he reported to the Board on Tuesday.

CAO Kevin Carunchio said the $6.3 million could be a “hard number”. He added that department revenues could also be overstated, which would make the deficit even bigger. The other fact is what’s called the fund balance, which means how much is left over from last fiscal year that could offset this year’s deficit. That number could be as high as $3 million or $4 million, which brings things back to the $2 million shortfall created by raises.

Carunchio also had heard that some people thought he might want to pay down the deficit with the solar deal in the works with the Department of Water and Power which was $4.5 million. Said Caruncho, “To say we were hanging our hat on the solar revenue is complete and utter nonsense.”

He then went to the Library and said the Director was asked to present an operations plan by March of this year. It did not come in. Carunchio said, “To suggest the Board or CAO is balancing the budget on the back of the Library is not right.” He said the Library lost 7% of its budget this year not 27%. However, other statistics show that the Library staff has declined by 9 people out of 16 in the past five years.  (See letter to the editor for more.)

Carunchio said relying on the fund balance to balance this year’s budget is “a crap shoot and risk.” He said the following fiscal year could be even tougher. There was some discussion of all departments taking a cut for the $6.3 million structural deficit. He did not recommend the use of reserves.

From here on, Carunchio said there will be department meetings and budget workshops toward balancing of the budget. Departments will look at how much they would have to cut in order to share in the deficit whether it be $1.8 million, $2.3 million or $6.3 million.

Jeff Griffiths said once the chronic deficit is cleared up, the County could move toward positive things like economic development and other forward-thinking projects. Linda Arcularius said she would count on $1 million less in the usual $4 million fund balance and wold not plan to totally eliminate the structural deficit this year.

CAO Carunchio finally said, “I know all of this is not great news.”

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8 Responses to Administrator talks “structural deficit”

  1. The Aggressive Progressive July 7, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    Something doesn’t add up when you have the words “salary raises” and “structural deficit” coming from the mouth of the county administrator in the same budget year..

  2. Wow July 3, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    From everything I am reading it sounds like the Inyo County CAO has a case of Mono County Sheriff Department’s “Boss Hog Syndrome” It must be catching….

  3. Embarrassed ... July 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    As a County employee I am embarrassed and ashamed of the actions of our CAO. To have such distain and contempt for the very people he is susposed to be working with as the PERSONNEL DIRECTOR,also in his purview. How many times will he continue to throw his Emploiees under the bus, over a contract HE signed and agreed to?

    I’ll make a deal, I’ll gladly give back my 2% COLA ( about $75.00 a month) on one condition, STOP blaming the employees for YOUR poor management decisions.

    Enough already, can’t we just be adults and take responsibility for our actions?

  4. Rose Masters July 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Hi Fact Check,

    I too believe in fact-checking. I would be more than happy to send you the budget documents which list the the Board-approved library funding cuts from FY 2013 to FY 2014. Last year, the total Board-approved cut to the library budget was $155,714, or 24%. Within that total, the Board-approved cut to the library personnel salaries amounted to a 30% cut. I also would be happy to share information with you about the library’s unmitigated loss of more than 50% of its staff since 2008 — a fact which is highly relevant because the public’s needs cannot be met on such a skeleton staff, and because the cuts to the library, including the cut decided by the board yesterday, must be considered cumulatively if they are to be considered equitably.

    • Greek Chorus July 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

      Attention please County of Inyo: Please hire Rose Masters as your next CAO!

  5. Ultima July 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

    ― Thomas Jefferson

  6. Book lover July 2, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Sorry…the auto correct kicked in for “multi-million” dollar and who knows what happened to “message”! It likes it as multimillion. Don’t know what a mufti-million is!

  7. Book lover July 2, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    To single out the Library in the CAOs messge to the board is really weird. It seems like there is a personal aspect to his dislike of the Library Director and the Library. The Library’s budget is a small fraction of the multi-million dollar County budget. The reaction of CAO Carunchio at the June 17th board meeting to the Library Director seems to indicate that this may be personal and the cutting of Library budgets over the past few years was intentional. That kind of personal vendetta has no place in good government. The people suffer for it.


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