Mid-year budget review shows Tulare County is in good shape

Tulare County receives $4.5 million in unanticipated tax revenue, board of supervisors approves the funding to be used for several operating capital improvement projects

VISALIA – As the county reaches the middle of the fiscal year, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors received a mid-year budget review explaining the county is in overall good shape.

On March 14, county administrative officer (CAO) Jason Britt, presented the mid-year budget review for fiscal year 2022-2023 to the board of supervisors and explained the county had received $4.5 million in unanticipated revenue. The county had not forecasted for the additional revenue from the public safety tax and local sales tax. The board of supervisors approved the allocation of the $4.5 million to several capital improvement projects throughout the county. Britt explained the county is in good financial standing and the only cause for concern would be financial cuts at the state level.

“Tulare County continues to be strong in its financial position. We’ve continued good economic growth and development and our budget continues to be in alignment with fiscal sustainability,” Britt said to the board. “The investment in capital improvements and construction and expansion and our organizational performance levels are consistent with the county’s adopted strategic business plan.”

The $4.5 million was will be allocated to seven different operating capital projects. Some of the unanticipated revenues came from California proposition 172 or the public safety tax, a statewide half-cent sales tax for support of local public safety functions in cities and counties. The board approved a little under $3 million for public safety projects to help cover rising construction costs. The public safety projects include: 

  • $1.5 million for the new Goshen Fire Station
  • $1 million for the new Tulare County Morgue in Tulare
  • $450,000 for the Earlimart Sheriff Substation

The remainder of unanticipated revenue was from local sales and use tax revenues. The remaining $1.5 million will be designated for general government projects to help cover construction costs as well. These projects include:

  • $850,000 for the registrar voters building remodel
  • $400,000 for the new Ledbetter Park well in Cutler
  • $200,000 for paving of Bartlett Park in Porterville
  • $100,000 for the Mooney Grove Park Dog Park in Visalia

“We allocated the [unanticipated revenue] to those projects because those are priority projects that we want to get accomplished,” Britt said. “[And] we were already over budget, because of inflation.”

Britt said despite inflation slowing, it is still persisting. As a result of its persistence, inflation will continue to challenge the purchasing power of the county. It will also diminish the impact of cost of living increases on employee wages according to the CAO.

“So even though the county’s experiencing some very good revenue growth, that growth has really been made up by persistence of inflation,” Britt said.

According to the county’s historical charts, the county is within the same ratio of revenue collection and expenditures as they have been at this time in previous years. Even with the looming concern of a recession, Britt said they will continue, but will be more cautious when creating next year’s budget. Furthermore, the county will have to see what will happen at the state level after the state’s May revision of their budget.

Britt said Tulare County has always operated off of “very conservative fiscal policies” and along with that, a sustainable budget. Even in a case where the state shifts costs down to the county after the May Revise, Britt said they will work to continue building and approving a sustainable budget.

Start typing and press Enter to search