County officials to present budget guidelines

Tuesday morning, the Kern County Board of Supervisors will take a hard look at the future of the county's finances.
BAKERSFIELD,CA-  Kern County is preparing for troubled waters and looking at different ways to fill the financial gaps.  The Kern County Board of Supervisors will hear a recommendation to make cuts across the board at county departments.

"The proposed guideline cuts five percent which equates to 15.8 million dollars," said Nancy Lawson the assistant county administrative officer.

Many of the financial woes stem from KMC's financial crisis.

"The county's general fund has contributed to about $13 million in the current year and KMC management is predicting that there may be an additional shortfall going through June 30," said Lawson.

During a meeting with the board on Monday, KMC officials hinted at possible layoffs.

"But what is crucial is we have to get to the point where we match our staffing exactly to our volume. If volume is going down unfortunately staffing has to go down," said Russell Judd the KMC CEO.

The challenges are many. Officials at Meadows Field are expected to ask supervisors to write off a $4.2 million loan later this month after revenue at the international terminal failed to meet expectations and the county has to match funds for highway construction under the Thomas Roads Improvement Project.

"Those funds have to be up to $60 million by 2017-18 and so we have incorporated $5 million set aside starting the process," said Lawson. 

Then there's the need to staff a new jail facility starting in 2016 and the unknown impacts of the Affordable Care Act. 

And the surge of stocks on Wall Street means the county pension system will draw slightly less from the county general fund.

The board will also consider continuing restrictions on hiring and travel to save money.
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