The Blue Ribbon Budget Task Force presented its cost efficiency analysis to a grateful Board of Supervisors last week. The five-person Task Force–which took nine months to complete the report–includes former Ernst and Young CEO William Kimsey and William Watkins, director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project. 4th District Supervisor and Board Chair Joni Gray declared the report “by far the best thing I’ve ever seen,” and suggested the board keep it available for constant reference as it begins working on the budget in June. Warning that county pensions and rising costs of living and healthcare will plunge the budget into a structural deficit during the next five years, the report outlines specific suggestions for saving money, including more outsourcing. As for generating revenue, the report encourages constructing small village centers in outlying areas to increase property taxes and low-impact oil development. County Executive Officer Michael Brown suggested the latter could be supplanted by cultivating alternative energy sources.

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