Merced County Board of Supervisors to mull final budget

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comAugust 25, 2013 

The Merced County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider adopting the county's final budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The board first reviewed the proposed $462 million budget at its June 25 meeting, and will consider final adoption at a 1:30 p.m. budget session.

The proposed budget projected a $2 million increase in local revenues, but County Executive Officer Jim Brown said the county's expenses still exceed its revenues, resulting in a $5 million shortfall.

The budget consists of $352 million in general funds, which is up $12 million from last year. The county's overall budget is up $30 million.

Also during the budget session, there will be a public hearing to consider eliminating a family planning and sexually-transmitted disease clinic sponsored by the county's public health department.

The clinic provides testing for sexually transmitted diseases, counseling, and family planning services. During the past three years, the number of unique patients had decreased and annual revenue was averaging $25,431, according to county documents.

If approved, the clinic would stop operating after Dec. 1. Patients would be given information about where to obtain similar services, according to Public Health Director Kathleen Grassi.

Riggs contract

During the board's regular meeting, also Tuesday, county supervisors will consider approving a 12-month contract extension for Riggs Ambulance Service. The amendment would extend the longtime ambulance provider's contract to Aug. 31, 2014.

The agreement would eliminate any language about the provider's "exclusive operating area" status, which guarantees Riggs is the only ambulance company in the county. It also has a provision to terminate the contract early if the county completes the bidding process and awards a contract before August 2014.

The Board of Supervisors meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the board chamber on the third floor of the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St. in Merced.

The final budget session will be held in the board chamber at 1:30 p.m.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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