Hopeless Finances?

With budgets under discussion and grand jury reports out, Inyo County government’s big problem, according to those sources, not enough money.

As we had reported, Inyo’s budget statement promised a balanced financial situation, but only at the expense of not taking care of essential needs like maintenance of buildings.

The recently released Inyo Grand Jury Report states that “Inyo County is operating just within its means and that continuing to operate this way is leaning towards a downward spiral.” The Report offers virtually no hope for improvement other than the vain wish that nothing will change.

The report goes on to say that “The indicators are that Inyo cannot hire qualified personnel with the current job ratings. Inyo is losing people to cities and counties that can afford to pay more.” Jurors point to the Sheriff’s Department has invested in training recruits who then go to work where pay is higher.

The Jury Report points out the obvious – Inyo’s fixed tax revenues and dependency on tourism. Jurors offer no solutions to this deteriorating condition. In the past, some officials have mentioned sale and development of county-owned land as a revenue generating idea. Citizens have posed a solar farm in southern Inyo and a truck stop in Northern Inyo. The Jury Report does suggest that the County might want to pursue location of a State Prison in Northern Inyo.

The tone of the Jury Report is summed up in these sentences: “Inyo County can only hope that it remains the same without obtaining new sources of revenue. As costs increase,” says the report, “the only option is to cut services and hire less qualified personnel which eventually leads to a less competent organization.”


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