Riverside County supervisors voted today to use unspent money from the last fiscal year to shore up a reserve fund for public safety agencies and address budget shortfalls in the Registrar of Voters and District Attorney’s offices.
According to a report by the Executive Office on fund balances at the close of 2009-10, most county departments exceeded their designated general fund allocations.
However, 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 12,000 ballots led to court litigation and a delayed certification of the election results.
The board voted unanimously to shift $2.5 million in retained funds to make up the shortfalls.
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.
The board approved putting all of the savings from those departments in a new reserve fund to offset public safety agencies’ emergency expenses.