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County’s $2.9 Billion Budget Could Be Affected By State’s $76 Billion Shortfall

Kaye Mand, County chief financial officer, gave the second quarter budget update for Fiscal Year 2023-24. According to Mand, the County’s $2.9 billion budget “remains on track” for the current budget year, which was helped by higher-than-expected property valuations. The County had planned for a 3 percent increase in property values but gained 5.9.

Board of Supervisors Chair Kelly Long asked how the recently reported $73 billion shortfall in the State’s projected revenues would affect the County. Mand said, “It’s on our minds” and will be part of meetings her department will begin holding with the various County directors over the next month in preparation for the 2024-25 budget.

County Executive Officer Sevet Johnson told supervisors many of the employee positions approved recently were fixed-term, not permanent, giving the County flexibility to cut those jobs when needed.

Barry Zimmerman, director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, gave a financial update as well. The Ventura County Medical System budget for 2022-23 was $591 million. The agency began the 2023-24 budget with an $8.3 million deficit, but Zimmerman said the gap has been reduced to a $3.7 million deficit as of the second quarter.

Zimmerman said, “Labor is the highest driver of costs” for the health care agency, adding that pharmaceutical costs had also increased.

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