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County Counsel
Recommended Expenditures
By Program 2017-18 Recommended Change from 2016-17 Adopted
Legal Services
Total Department
Mission Statement

By statute, County Counsel is the legal adviser to the Board of Supervisors.  Our attorneys and support staff advance and defend the County’s civil policies and actions by: looking ahead, advising and litigating.  We work closely with the Board of Supervisors and other County Officers to maintain the civil legal integrity of the County of Santa Barbara.

About the Department

We defend or prosecute all civil litigation in which the County, or its officers or employees in their official capacities, are parties.  This regularly includes:  federal civil rights and state tort cases; “dependency” actions to protect minor children; property tax assessment appeals; land use actions; statutory financial cases, by or against the Auditor-Controller or Treasurer; defense against State audits; mental health commitments and conservatorships; cases involving contracts; employment cases; and motions and writs for the Sheriff’s Office.


We provide civil legal advice and services to:  the Board of Supervisors, other County Officers, Departments, Boards, Commissions, Committees, and Special Districts.  This legal advice involves many subjects, including: land use, public works, real property, contracts, public safety, regulatory, financial, elections, social services, housing, healthcare and personnel.  


All of this advances the County’s public service objectives, while helping to protect the County from loss and risk.

Recommended Changes and Operational Impact




For FY 17/18 there will be a -.85 FTE staffing reduction:  a Legal Office Professional will retire in August 2017, -1.0 FTE, with her position only funded for +.15 FTE (two months) in FY 17/18, and with that position remaining vacant after she retires.  




Net operating expenditure increase of +$356,063 due to:

o+$336,333  increase in Salaries and Employee Benefits due to increases in retirement costs, health insurance costs  and employee salaries.

o+$7,977 in Services and Supplies

o+$11,753 in Other Charges.


These changes result in Recommended operating expenditures of $8,343,867 and non-operating expenditures of $0.




Net operating revenue increase of +$366,537.  All County Counsel billing was impacted by a 7.0% increase in the overhead rate for Fiscal Year 2017-18. The following Charges for Services accounts were affected;

o+$263,000 increase in Legal Services to Other Funds due to increased billings to Liability.

o+$95,537 increase in Legal Services other than Risk Management.

o+$8,000 in Other Services.


Net non-operating revenue decrease of -$10,554 due to:

o-$92,465 decrease in Decreases to Fund Balance

o+81,911 increase in General Fund Contribution which reflects the recommended GFC target.


These changes result in Recommended operating revenues for FY2017-18 of $4,350,960 and non-operating revenues of $3,992,907, resulting in total revenues of $8,343,867. Non-operating revenues primarily include General Fund Contribution, transfers, and Decreases to Committed.

Proposed Changes and Operational Impact


The FY 2017-18 Recommended to 2018-19 Proposed shows: an increase of +$370,855 in operating expenditures, primarily due to expected increases in Salaries and Employee Benefits.  


The FY 2017-18 Recommended to 2018-19 Proposed General Fund Contribution shows a decrease of -$80,007,  leaving a negative fund balance impact of -$450,862, primarily due to expected increases in Salaries and Employee Benefits.

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