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County
Clerk-Recorder-Assessor
Recommended Expenditures
By Program 2017-18 Recommended Change from 2016-17 Adopted
Administration & Support
 
$1,113,195
6%
$34,839
3.0%
Elections
 
$4,330,024
25%
$113,641
2.7%
Clerk-Recorder
 
$3,012,684
17%
$216,377
7.7%
Assessor
 
$9,031,215
52%
$161,744
1.8%
Total Department
 
$17,487,118
100%
$456,923
2.7%
Mission Statement

To honor the public’s trust by assuring honest and open elections, recording, maintaining and preserving property and vital records, setting fair and impartial values for tax purposes, and providing courteous and professional service at a reasonable cost.

About the Department

The Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Department has three direct service budget programs: Assessor, Clerk-Recorder, and Elections.

 

Within the official duties as prescribed by the Revenue and Taxation Code, the Assessor Program is responsible for fairly, timely, and accurately assessing the value on all taxable property and creating the annual assessment roll which is the basis for the funding of public services.

 

In accordance with various sections of the California Government Code, the Clerk-Recorder Program records all official documents for the County, registers and issues copies of vital records (births, deaths, and marriages), and serves as the custodian for those records.  In addition, the Clerk function of the Clerk-Recorder provides for filing of domestic partnerships, fictitious business names, notary bonds, and other miscellaneous filings and services.

 

In accordance with the official duties prescribed by the Election Code, the Elections Program primarily is responsible for registering voters, maintaining a current voter file, and ensuring that voters of the County have the tools they need, the equipment they trust, the information and access they deserve, and the right they value in order to participate in the election process.

 

The Administration and Support Program provides support functions to the Department’s direct service programs by providing leadership and direction in support of the Department’s overall mission and goals.

Recommended Changes and Operational Impact

 

Staffing

Net decrease of 0.62 FTEs due to the elimination of an Appraiser (1.0 FTE) position and a part-time Administrative Office Professional (0.62 FTE) in the Assessor Division, offset by an additional Administrative Office Professional 1.0 FTE in the Clerk-Recorder, fully funded by Recorder revenues.

 

The Department’s budgeted staff has decreased by 20 FTE’s since FY 2007-08. Over this period of time, workload in some programs decreased, reducing the level of staff needed. However, other staff reductions were necessary to absorb the impact of decreasing revenues, increasing costs, and County implemented budget reductions. This challenge has been compounded in recent years by the loss of experienced staff in the Assessor’s office. The sub-optimal FY 2017-18 Recommended staffing level continues to impact service delivery of the Department, specifically in the Assessor Programs.  Without optimal long-term staffing, the Assessor’s ability to timely and accurately assess the value on all taxable property will continue to be impacted and the Assessor may continue to experience increases in assessment work backlog.  

 

Expenditures

Net operating expenditure increase of $457,000:

o+$206,000 net increase in Salaries and Employee Benefits costs to fund 98.5 FTEs.

o+$176,000 net increase in Services and Supplies primarily in the Elections division due to the anticipated impacts of a new mandated voter registration program (Motor Voter) combined with minimum wage cost increases for Temporary Staff and Poll Workers.

o+$75,000 net increase in Other Charges primarily related to an increase in Information Technology Department data service charges.

 

Net non-operating expenditure increase of $2,526,000 primarily due to:

o$2,600,000 increase in Capital Asset expenditures due to the anticipated acquisition of a new vote tabulation system.

o+330,000 increase in Intrafund Expenditure Transfers due to a change in how the department accounts for intra-department overhead charges. 

o-404,000 decrease in funds designated for future Departmental use primarily due to the impact of no election costs reimbursements for the cost of conducting the Fiscal Year 2017-18 Primary Election.  

 

These changes result in Recommended operating expenditures of $17,487,000, non-operating expenditures of $3,352,000, and total expenditures of $20,839,000.  Non-operating expenditures primarily include capital assets, transfers, and increases to fund balance components.

 

Revenues

Net operating revenue increase of $1,453,000:

o+2,080,000 increase in Intergovernmental Revenue in the form of grant and bond funds to offset a one-time capital expenditure on voting equipment.

o+$7,000 increase in Licenses, Permits and Franchises for annual fluctuations in the number of estimated marriage licenses issued.

o-$635,000 decrease in Charges for Services, primarily due to:

-$770,000 decrease in recoverable election costs from local agencies due to FY 2017-18 being a Gubernatorial Primary Election with little to no budgeted local agency consolidation.

+$218,000 net increase in Clerk-Recorder charges for services primarily from an anticipated increase in budgeted document recordings.

-$83,000 net decrease in the Assessor’s Program primarily due to an anticipated reduction in recoverable property tax administration fees.

 

Net non-operating revenue increase of $1,531,000 primarily due to:

o+$1,468,000 net increase in use of fund balances.

+$858,000 increase in budgeted use of committed fund balances to balance the Department’s operating budget.  

+$472,000 increase in use of Elections fund balance to fund the balance of voting equipment acquired primarily with Federal and State monies.

+$91,000 increase in use of Departmental fund balance to fund New Assessor Property System Project costs estimated to be higher in FY 2017-18 as a result of more project manager hours dedicated to the project.

+$47,000 increase in use of the Clerk-Recorder restricted fund balances needed to fund Clerk-Recorder program costs estimated to be higher in FY 2017-18.

o+330,000 increase in Intrafund Revenue Transfers due to a change in how the department accounts for intra-department overhead charges. 

o-$267,000 net decrease in General Fund Contribution from a $554,000 county implemented reduction, offset by a $287,000 general fund contribution increase for salary and benefits.

 

These changes result in Recommended operating revenue of $7,506,000, non-operating revenues of $13,333,000, and total sources of $20,839,000. Non-operating revenues primarily include General Fund Contribution and decreases to fund balance components.

Proposed Changes and Operational Impact

 

Expenditures

 

The FY 2018-19 Proposed Budget includes no changes in staffing from the prior year’s Recommended Budget.  The increase in the cost of Salary and Employee Benefits for funding the same level of staff will be $658,000.  Services and Supplies are estimated to decrease by $117,000 the majority of which is due to a reduction of one-time expenditures in the Elections Division.  Capital Asset costs will decrease by $2,600,000 due to the one-time voting equipment acquisition in Fiscal Year 2017-18. 

 

Revenues

 

Departmental net operating revenue is expected to decrease by $1,600,000 in FY 2018-19, all in the Elections Division.  An increase of $480,000 in election cost reimbursements from local agency consolidations in the FY 2018-19 Gubernatorial General Election.  The increase will be offset by the loss of $2,080,000 in one-time Federal and State funds provided to purchase voting equipment in FY 17-18.

 

2018-19 Budget Gap

 

To maintain FY 2017-18 service levels, $18,824,000 of funding will be required in FY 2018-19. Of this amount, $17,637,000 will be funded by departmental revenues, funding sources and General Fund Contribution, leaving a $1,187,000 structural imbalance. The $1,187,000 budget gap is $329,000 greater than the gap in FY 2017-18 due to increases in Salaries and Employee Benefits, which are partially offset by an anticipated increase in Elections revenue.  A funding source will need to be identified to backfill the FY 2018-19 Department gap in order to avoid critical  service level reductions in creating the County’s property tax roll.

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