County General Fund faring better than expected

Property taxes tracking behind estimates
2012-05-07T00:00:00Z County General Fund faring better than expectedStaff report Santa Maria Times
May 07, 2012 12:00 am  • 

A snapshot of Santa Barbara County’s financial position shows the General Fund is doing better than expected financially, a third-quarter financial status report shows.

The status report details the variances, or differences between the county’s budget and the actual third quarter financial results, and will be presented Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors.

According to the report presented by Auditor-Controller Bob Geis, the county’s General Fund has a projected variance of $5.9 million, primarily as a result of positive general revenues of $2.6 million, positive Proposition 172 revenues of $1.4 million and salary and benefit savings of $2.4 million.

General revenues are positive in part because of the receipt of four years of excess Vehicle License Fees amounting to $930,000, that were recently released by the state.

Additionally, $954,000 in property tax penalties won’t be realized this fiscal year, and favorable transient occupancy taxes of $715,000 are contributing to positive revenues. The TOT number reflects an improving tourist market in the county and increased tax collection efforts on hotels and vacation rentals, according to Geis.

Property transfer tax and supplemental tax, however, are tracking behind estimates by $134,000 and $588,000, respectively, which are leading indicators for next year’s property tax growth. The trend indicates show growth in the real estate sector, according to the report.

The only fund to show a negative variance is the Mental Health Services Fund, with negative $9.6 million. The negative difference is due to factors

including state cost report settlements from prior years, denied reimbursement for services and higher than anticipated indigent costs and lower than anticipated Medicare revenue.

Also on Tuesday, the board will give final consideration to a report showing the county is dealing with significantly higher numbers of state inmates than anticipated as a result of realignment, which started Oct. 1, 2011.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. in the Betteravia Government Center, 511 E. Lakeside Parkway, Santa Maria.

The public can address the board in person or by using the remote audio and video equipment at the hearing room on the fourth floor of the county administration building at 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

For those who cannot make it to either location, there is a live stream of the Board of Supervisors’ meetings and copies of agendas and minutes of the meetings at

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