Fresno Prepares for a Budget Disaster

Fresno, CA, USA The inability of the Governor and California's legislature to act on the state's $42-Billion dollar budget short fall could be described as the calm before a hurricane hits. But Fresno County's Administrative Officer says the flood waters are already rising, "John Navarrette, It's the perfect storm fiscally that spells disaster for us."

County supervisors asked Navarrette for a worst case scenario on its current and future finances. It came from several people in the know. The County's Assessor had dismal news of a big loss in shrinking property tax revenue. And the Auditor/Controller Vicki Crow explained what will happen if the state makes good on delaying reimbursement checks to the county, "We go negative (spending) to the tune of a little over three million dollars and we go negative in March, at the end of March and we can make maybe two payrolls."

That says John Navarrette puts the county, "clearly in uncharted waters in this area." He also explained that come February 1st the state isn't likely to reimburse the Fresno County for social services provided by the county. He asked to be allowed to give written notice to vendors that their checks won't be coming from the county either. Supervisor Henry Perea agreed it has to be done, "I'd make a motion to include everybody if we really are going to make these decisions in the next week." John Navarrette put it this way, "This is what I would consider our disaster plan and it would only be triggered if the state does not resolve its fiscal situation."

In the end a united board voted to send out those notices and withhold payment until the state pays its share. It had to be done says Navarrette, "I want to put everything on the table so the public, the board and the department's know.


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