By Deb Murphy
Inyo County will be taking advantage of a $1 million overall increase in revenues to check off a significant number of items on its wish list. A chunk of that wish list are one-time only expenditures on the assumption that the good times may not continue to roll.
CAO Clint Quilter gave the Board of Supervisors the good news at last week’s meeting. General Fund revenues increased by nearly $4.5 million with significant jumps in property taxes and Transient Occupancy Taxes.
We’d like to be able to stop there. Budgets are a quagmire into which those with little experience in real money can quickly sink. So, we’ll concentrate on what the County plans to do.
Quilter started with a list defined as strengthening the organization that includes staff leadership training, a County facility in Lone Pine to service residents in the south end of Inyo, payments on the Bishop consolidated office building, 11 new positions across a range of County departments and five additional seasonal and part-time employees, the purchase of landfill sites and WiFi at all County facilities.
Under the category of support services, the CAO included additional funding for senior programs, continued efforts to bring air service to Inyo, $200,000 to focus on housing stock development and a Small Business Development Center to help locals provide jobs that pay more than the hospitality industry.
Quilter explained the positions requested but not filled aren’t dead in the water, they just need to be defined more closely or, in the case of additional corrections offices, programs for juveniles need to be established with new hires that fit those programs.
All of the above still leaves an extra million. Supervisors Matt Kingsley started the Board discussion with the recommendation to set aside $250,000 for area parks and $30,000 to actually landscape the front of the Independence Courthouse. The rest of the Board agreed.
“We’re looking at some of the fundamental issues with County parks,” Quilter said. “Assistant CAO Linda Chapman has been working on what needs to be done, what can be done” with area parks and campgrounds. Some of those needs include potable water and electricity at places like Diaz Lake.
The Board unanimously approved the CAO recommended budget with those funds earmarked for parks and Courthouse landscaping. The official vote will take place September 10.