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Riverside County Agencies Make Barely Make Budget

A final assessment of Riverside County government’s balance sheet at the end of the last fiscal year indicates that most departments closed 2009-10 with money to spare.

The Board of Supervisors tomorrow will review the Executive Office’s year-end report on general fund activity as part of its policy agenda.

According to the report, only two departments — the District Attorney’s and Registrar of Voters offices — exceeded their designated general fund allocations in the fiscal year ending June 30.

The D.A.’s office was $968,062 over budget, and the registrar’s office was $341,590 over.

The county also disbursed $466,639 more than expected to cover interest payments on Tax Revenue Anticipation Notes — or TRANS — which are IOUs sold to the public to replenish county coffers during a cash crunch.

According to the Executive Office, the D.A.’s budget overrun stemmed from an unexpectedly high number of early retirement payouts, while the registrar’s overrun was due to higher costs associated with the June 8 primary election.

The misplacement of more than 1,000 ballots led to court litigation and a delayed certification of the election results.

According to the report, the sheriff’s department closed the fiscal year with the largest general fund savings — $12.4 million — despite lower public safety sales tax reimbursements from the state and higher costs tied to the opening of new jail space at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

The Probation Department, which required nearly $2 million in additional funding commitments at the start of the current fiscal year to plug a hole in its budget, ended 2009-10 with an unexpected general fund surplus of $401,226.

The fire department had an extra $1,000.

All of the savings from those departments will be deposited in a new reserve fund to offset public safety agencies’ emergency expenses.

The Executive Office is recommending that the board use some of the remaining savings from the last fiscal year to address the shortfalls in the D.A’s and registrar’s budgets.

KESQ News Team

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