The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will host three days of budget workshops beginning Tuesday, providing an opportunity for both the board and public to review County Executive Jeff Smith's recommended budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.
The board will make its final decisions at budget hearing meetings June 17-21.
The proposed $4.6 billion budget includes all services, operations, capital improvements and reserves. The recommended general fund budget of $2.4 billion, which covers all discretionary and many mandated services, lays out a funding strategy to address a $67 million shortfall.
Last year, the county avoided any budget deficit after a decade of annual shortfalls in the $200 million range.
"The brief respite from a budget deficit that we experienced last year will be short lived as we face unprecedented levels of uncertainty from every direction -- state, federal and legal," said Smith in a news release.
"We still do not know the full impacts of pending state budget decisions or federal sequestration," said Smith. "And voter-approved Measure A, which would generate desperately needed revenue from the 1/8 cent sales tax, is being challenged in court."
A local taxpayers' group has sued the county over the validity of the sales tax measure, which voters passed in November to pay for safety, health and social services. The tax hike bumped the county's overall sales tax to 8.75 percent, one of the highest in the Bay Area.
The case is expected to be argued Thursday before the San Jose-based Sixth District Court of Appeal. A ruling must occur within 90 days, according to the county counsel's office.
On Tuesday, Smith also is expected to address the county's looming $3 billion-plus unfunded pension liability.
Meanwhile, for the upcoming fiscal year, Smith is proposing a three-part strategy to pay down the $67 million shortfall, including $28.7 million by potentially eliminating vacant county positions, increasing county fees, or obtaining additional revenue from state or federal sources. Smith would use $20 million from Measure A, but that cannot be collected unless the legal challenge is resolved in the county's favor. He is proposing $21.7 million through ongoing labor concessions to reduce service costs.
The workshops will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday inside the board chambers at the County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St.
The workshops will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday inside the board chambers at the County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St. The workshop schedules and general topics of discussion are as follows:
Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.: Budget overview, including pension liability; Children, Seniors and Families - Part 1
Health and Hospital - Part 1
Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.: Children, Seniors and Families - Part 2
Health and Hospital - Part 2
Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.: Finance and Government Operations
Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.: only if the afternoon session needs to be continued.
Thursday at 1:30 p.m.: Public Safety and Justice
Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation
For more detailed information about the County Executive's recommended 2013-14 fiscal year budget, go to www.sccgov.org under Hot Items.