Saturday, February 17, 2007

Solano Supes increase emergency funds

Supes increase emergency funds

By Erin Pursell/Staff Writer

Article Launched:02/15/2007 06:52:17 AM PST

The Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved plans to boost the county's reserve and contingency funds.

The new policy calls for the General Fund reserve - from which monies cannot be spent unless both the county and state have declared an emergency due to a disaster such as a flood or terror attack - to be increased to 10 percent, from 5 percent of the total county budget.

This will require the board to set aside an additional estimated $33.3 million over the next five years to add to the $39.1 million that is currently set aside, according to staff.

General Fund contingencies also will be raised to 10 percent. That fund can be tapped during the year by agreement of four or the five supervisors.

The new recommendations are the result of formal review conducted by the county Auditor-Controller and the Treasure/Tax Collector's offices.

"You need to consider all the vulnerabilities," said Auditor-Controller Simona Padilla-Scholtens.

The plan also will increase the deferred construction and maintenance designation in the budget by $10 million and the employee leave payoff designation by $2.4 million.

The supervisors established the general fund reserve at 5 percent of the county budget in 2001.

"It was merely an attempt to start with seed money to establish a reserve for Solano County," Padilla-Scholtens explained.

The supervisors agreed on the importance of maintaining a prudent reserve, especially for emergencies.

"We would be the first that would be called upon to issue checks," said Supervisor John Vasquez. "We'd need to have that money ready."

Supervisor Barbara Kondylis, meanwhile, voted against the increases and said the county should be less reliant on state and federal dollars to fund local services.

"We've heard a lot today about future uncertainties and I don't think we ought to be basing this on state and federal money," she said.

"If we have this kind of money we ought to be funding those on our own."

Erin Pursell can be reached at

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