Alameda County proposes $3.1 billion budget

Alameda County officials are beginning to think the current positive economic times are bound to end. And the end could be near, they warn. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors released a $3.1 billion budget proposal Wednesday that closes a $66 million deficit. The board must approve Fiscal Year 2019 budget by June 30.

But while the U.S. economy continues to roll toward the longest economic expansion in its history, and soaring real estate values have boosted the county’s treasury, demand for social services is still high, said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.

Uncertainty over how the massive tax cuts enacted last fall by the Trump administration will ultimately affect the local economy is also weighing on the board’s mind.

“Our resources remain under significant strain, as many residents find it extremely difficult to cover the costs of housing and other basic necessities,’’ Chan said.

The county’s $66 million shortfall is proposed to be closed with Fiscal Management Rewards from individual county departments–savings left over from the previous fiscal year, said Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi.

Uncertainty over how the massive tax cuts enacted last fall by the Trump administration will ultimately affect the local economy is also weighing on the board’s mind.

Similar to virtually every budget cycle in Alameda County going back to the start of the Great Recession nearly a decade ago, the rising costs of health care and public employee pensions continue to make up a larger portion of the county’s overall budget, said officials.

“While our finances are relatively stable during what historically are pretty good times, we’ve got to get out in front of some looming challenges that await us,” said Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson. “If we don’t, many vital services in our communities will be placed in peril.”

The Board of Supervisors expect to approve the fiscal year budget on June 29, but not before a series of budget hearings on June 25-27.

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