Counties Approve, Prepare to Vote on FY 2006 Budgets
Several counties have approved or will soon vote on budgets for fiscal year 2005-2006, including funding for health care programs. Summaries of recent developments appear below.
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a $1.2 billion budget that avoids $10 million in proposed cuts, primarily from the health and sheriff's departments, the Contra Costa Times reports.
John Sweeten, the county's top administrator, identified about $36 million in new revenue and savings to address a projected $50 million budget deficit created in part by increasing health care and workers' compensation costs. An additional $11 million was cut from programs and services to address the deficit. Sweeten also reduced the recommended increase of payments to the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund.
Sweeten and the supervisors said they will work to reduce the county's health care and workers' compensation spending during the county's current round of contract negotiations (Russell, Contra Costa Times, 6/29).
Orange County supervisors on Tuesday approved a $4.94 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins Friday, with a major portion going to health care and social service programs, the Orange County Register reports.
The budget allocates $1.4 billion for community service initiatives to reduce the number of uninsured children in the county and pay for a 7% increase in Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the county (Orange County Register, 6/29).
However, a grand jury report released Tuesday indicates that the county's pension plan is not adequately funded. The report said the county must identify ways to address $4.4 billion in unfunded costs, including $1.3 billion in unfunded health care costs (Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 6/29).
San Mateo County supervisors on Wednesday will vote on a tentative $1.47 billion budget after three days of hearings that included testimony from several county health officials, the San Francisco Examiner reports (Friedland, San Francisco Examiner, 6/28).
According to the San Mateo County Times, the cost of health programs constitutes about one-third of the proposed budget. About half of the 164 jobs being created under the budget plan are positions at San Mateo Medical Center and Burlingame Long-Term Care Center. The budget for the medical center, which provides care for many of the county's uninsured residents, will increase by 8% in FY 2006 over expenditures for FY 2005. The county will contribute $54 million to the medical center's FY 2006 budget (Ernde, San Mateo County Times, 6/28).