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    September 22, 2020

    EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors today will be presented with a recommended 2020-21 fiscal budget that is close to $36 million more than last year’s.

    According to the final budget summary, the general fund would increase from almost $213 million to close to $227 million.

    Other funding would increase from $292.2 million to $313.9 million for a recommended total of $540.7 million.

    One of the reasons for the increase is because of the coronavirus impacts, as public assistance would increase from $170.7 million to $187.4 million.

    That staffing for the county, under the recommended budget, would increase by 22 employees to 2,402, with 1,267 of those position being paid from the general fund.

    The proposed general fund overall increase is primarily due to negotiated labor agreements of employee salaries and benefits and increased contributions to the county’s loss reserves.

    The recommended budget also reflects increases to the Department of Social Services’ Categorical Aid Program.

    Funding sources for the general fund would total $204.1 million, with 47 percent coming from intergovernmental revenue, 20 percent from federal revenue, 19 percent from taxes, 9 percent from charges for services and the rest from various other sources.

    The county has addressed a $16.64 million shortfall in the general fund through transfers and freezing vacant positions saving about $9 million. Another $3.77 million would be saved through the medical plan loss reserve reimbursements to departments.

    Looking ahead, the county will re-evaluate the services it offers, end certain non-mandated services and consolidate services to reduce redundant jobs.

    The county will also try to digitize and modernize county services and evaluate vendor contracts and renegotiate.

    In a recent presentation to supervisors, county CEO Tony Rouhotas Jr. said even with the budget shortfall due to COVID-19, staff was able to come up with a balanced budget without disrupting current services and programs.

    However, he said the ability to continue all services at the current level cannot be sustained indefinitely.

    “As we start the new fiscal year we need to work together to evaluate our services and programs and reprioritize,” Rouhotas said. “We look forward to meeting these challenges in partnership with this board, county staff and the community we serve.”

    The county’s final adopted budget for fiscal year 2020-21 must be submitted to the State Controller’s Office by Dec. 1.

    Michael Maresh, I.V. Press Staff Writer