Wednesday Apr 15 2009
Citizen committee to eye county budget
By: Staff report
Supervisor asks for help from volunteers to examine spending
One Saramento County elected official is looking for a little help from the public when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars. While speaking to the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan said she will be convening a group of community members to review the county's budget and identify ways to reduce spending, improve efficiencies and eliminate unnecessary or outdated programs as she prepares to deal with an unprecedented shortfall in the county’s General Fund budget. “Hard working families are sitting around the kitchen table every night trying to figure out how they’re going to make it through these tough times,” said MacGlashan. “It’s time the County did the same. That’s why I am putting together a group of people with a wide range of experience and knowledge to help me lead a frank discussion on the challenges of protecting taxpayers and providing essential services.” MacGlashan’s decision to establish this committee comes as the county is preparing to deal with an estimated $187 million shortfall in the county’s General Fund. MacGlashan said she has called for additional information in previous years’ budget hearings, with limited success. “I’ve been pushing for more transparency and accountability for years, and I simply cannot continue to wait any longer for accurate and complete information to make the tough decisions,” she said. “I believe this committee is necessary to getting the information I need to make Sacramento County work most effectively for the taxpayers.” She said she understands the economy has hit more than just businesses. “The county, like almost every local government in the state, has been hit hard by the economic downturn. It’s time for us to open the books and make the same difficult decisions that families and small businesses are making,” she said. “We must reduce spending to deal with these tough times, but we must do so responsibly and ensure that the County provides the most critical services at the greatest value to the taxpayers.” MacGlashan said the committee will be made up of volunteers with experience in budget and finance in both the private and public sectors. She said the committee will need to work quickly, at no cost to the taxpayers, to provide additional oversight into the county’s budget process as the Board of Supervisors prepares for preliminary budget hearings in May.