Thursday, July 23, 2009

State Budget

As I learn about the state budget issues affecting Idyllwild, I'll share them on this site. All will be combined into one news story for the print edition next Wednesday and later if necessary.

Local Government revenue
As of now, I understand that local jurisdictions, including water and fire districts, will have about 8 percent of their 2008-09 property tax revenue withheld to be used for other purposes such as funding education.

The last time the state "borrowed' local district money, fire districts were exempt. if they are this year, I haven't found anyone that can confirm it or seen it in any of the draft bills.

Districts have until Oct. 15, 2009 to appeal and try to have the withholding reduced or eliminated. Otherwise the state will repay, the "borrowing" in 3 years with interest.

Eight percent for Hill agencies will range from about $20,000 to $80,000.

CAL FIRE and OES emergency fund
Most commentators say the surcharge on residential and commercial property insurance policies was removed from the table. But Dan Berlant, CAL FIRE public information officer in Sacramento, was not able to confirm that it has been deleted or whether a parcel fee might have been substituted. More next week.

Mt San Jacinto State Park
Every thing is normal at least through Labor Day. After that, park officials don't have answer yet. The "compromise" eliminated $70 million of General Fund money from park operations, but found ways to shift $62 million back to the state park agency. The net cut is suppose to be $8 million.

The Assembly's draft budget report thinks the result could cause the closure of about 50 parks. The State Parks department can not confirm that estimate yet.

The Inland Empire District Superintendent, Ron Krueper, said that most parks operate with a 50 percent deficit or need General Fund money equal to fee collections to remain open. He is not sure how the cuts will be allocated and couldn't promise anything more for Mt San Jacinto than he could for his other areas such as Chino Hills. More to come.

No information yet on the effects on HUSD, but the legislation does permit districts to reduce the school year to 175 days. I bet that helps the kids math.

Open Meetings
Apparently some public entities argued that money could be saved by suspending the state mandate for open meetings. I guess it was cost of sweeping up all the rubble the masses left behind. While the our Solemn "Big Five" rejected that savings.

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