Inyo-Mono Government Officials Still Struggle with Budgets

Local officials still stew over their respective budgets. They breathed sighs of relief over no loss of gas tax dollars, but property tax money losses and other program cuts still leave questions.state_capitol_1-12-09

Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio had said that it appears the Health and Human Services Department will take budget hits. Carunchio called these department cuts the biggest unknown. He said they will “wait for an analysis.”

According to news reports, Governor Schwarzenegger’s personal cuts from the final budget will impact child welfare, children’s healthcare, the elderly, state parks and AIDS treatment and prevention. Officials now try to translate this into local impacts.

Carunchio also pointed out that local counties have already incurred costs for running state-mandated programs, so it would be nice for the State to pay for its mandates. On the good news edge, Carunchio said that local revenues are relatively strong – campground fees and transient occupancy tax, indicating that many have chosen to vacation closer to home.

In Mono County, Finance Director Brian Muir said officials are still at work on the budget. He said the Supervisors may decide to use part of the reserve fund which includes almost $6 million. More discussion on that at the August 4th meeting. Muir said that he will recommend that the Board try not to use more than $2 million of reserves.

In Mammoth Lakes, Town Manager Rob Clark said they’re still trying to make final changes to the budget. The Town Council supported a cut of $624,000. Clark said that about $225,000 to $250,000 will have to come from “restructuring staff.” More talk on the budget next week.

In the City of Bishop, Administrator Rick Pucci had said that he did not feel an additional loss of funds through the State would lead to major changes, like lay-offs. Pucci had said that the City went into the new fiscal year about 20% down in revenue due to a loss of sales tax and property tax money.

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