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County issues preliminary budget plan
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Stanislaus County Chief Executive's Office has released the proposed county budget for fiscal year 2008-2009. The county's fiscal year begins on July 1.

The proposed budget totals $957,331,957 representing a 1 percent increase from the prior year.

Chief Executive Officer Rick Robinson expressed a high level of concern as the new fiscal year approaches.

"County government funding is so dependent upon final state budget decision, yet our new year begins in just one month," said Robinson. "These are challenging times and the need for county services continued to grow along with a growing fiscal uncertainty."

Patricia Hill Thomas, Chief Operating Officer for Stanislaus County, said with the worsening economy and worsening state budget crisis, the county is "presenting a balanced budget and we will continue to work hard to ensure fiscal stability and minimize impacts where possible. The county's final budget will be considered in September and is likely to include much more significant impacts depending upon the final outcomes of the state budget process."

Stanislaus County leaders implemented a budget savings plan designed to decrease expenses by 2 percent. The 16-month budget reduction strategy was launched during February 2007 to minimize impact of the state budget crisis. County leadership also directed county general fund programs to cut spending by 3 percent for the upcoming fiscal year.

The county budget is marked with great uncertainty, as much of county funding comes from the state. Until a state budget is passed, it is unknown what the total and final impacts will be to local government.

After the consideration of budget needs and requests for the coming year and several potential scenarios, the Proposed Budget as presented includes a targeted 3% reduction to most programs and also funds $3.5 million of the most critical one-time fund needs, using $6.75 million in one-time funds to balance the Proposed Budget. This scenario is presented as the basis of the proposed 2008-2009 budget. At this time, it appears to be overly optimistic and will likely require additional reductions in the Final Budget.

The county's budget also reinforces a "no backfill" policy for state and federal program reductions. As funding for state or federal mandated programs is cut, the county will not be able to fill in the loss from county general funds. The county's policy is that the state and federal government should provide adequate funding for mandates they require of local government.

The complete Stanislaus County proposed budget can be found at