The County Parks Department will be cutting back services in an effort to close what’s currently a $606,000 gap in half by the end of the fiscal year in June. Those services include turning off the Waller Park fountain pump except on the weekends, reducing water schedules, cutting back on grounds and janitorial maintenance, closing Guadalupe Dunes on Mondays and Tuesdays, and closing Vista Point off Highway 154 near Cachuma Lake. “We regret the inconvenience that these service reductions and limitations will have on the public,” said Interim Parks Director Brian Roney in a statement.
Parks, along with Mental Health Services and the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor’s Office, is expected to end the year in a deficit. Mental Health Services is still battling a state audit that shows the county is liable for millions, and the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor’s Office is still owed a substantial reimbursement from the state for running elections. That reimbursement has been delayed indefinitely.
As the Board of Supervisors creeps toward what will be a devastating budget discussion about a $70-million-or-so deficit come June, the current fiscal year budget is holding steady, slightly above projections, according to officials on Tuesday at a review of the third-quarter financial statement. Most departments are meeting their expectations or goals, and analysts believe the county could end the year with a one-half percent surplus in the General Fund. A soft hiring freeze and other moves by county officials have helped the county, though some departments are struggling to stay in the black.