Labor Peace, New Water Wells Highlight Fresno County’s Record $4.5 Billion Budget
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors passed a record $4.5 billion budget in a 95-minute hearing on Monday by a 5-0 vote. The fiscal year finds the county with an 8% increase ($343 million) from last year.
“Very little blood was drawn,” Supervisor Nathan Magsig said at the close of the meeting.
The budget includes $194 million from the American Rescue Plan Act federal stimulus dollars. The money will be used for 65 projects, 23 of which have already been completed. They include the replacement of groundwater wells, the construction of affordable homes, and homelessness initiatives.
One highlight is labor peace with 22 bargaining units. The county employs more than 8,300 workers. Several will receive raises.
But, the increases could be eaten up by expenses all county residents are going through. County Administrative Officer Paul Nerland said fuel costs have increased 36%. Healthcare costs are up 3.6%, a “respectable number,” Nerland said in county documents. Inflation is also a concern.
Those watching by a live video stream had a tough time Monday. The feed started late and was choppy throughout.
Also in Politics 101 …
- Voters in Huron to finally fill a vacancy.
- Fowler councilman elected to a statewide advocacy group.
- Fresnan appointed to a statewide board.
Huron Vacancy to Finally be Filled
Earlier this month, Politics 101 wrote about the Mission Viejo (Orange Count) city council. A judge is kicking out three members because a misinterpreted election quirk allowed three members to stay on beyond the expiration of their terms.
In Huron in western Fresno County, an opposite problem happened. A vacancy on the city council was not filled in the allotted time.
Jorge Solorio resigned in late 2020 because he moved out of town, the city clerk said.
By law, the city had two options — call for a special election or appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of the term through 2022. General law cities like Huron have 60 days to make that decision.
The city council of Huron, population 6,222, decided that $40,000 for a special election — which could have taken place in November 2021 — was too much. But, the council could not decide on a replacement either, leaving the seat open.
How could Huron get away with not following state law?
“The law has no teeth,” city attorney Neal Costanzo told Politics 101. “The law does not provide any consequences (for not acting).”
The situation is moot. Huron voters will decide on that and two other city council positions, as well as mayor in the November election.
Parra Wins League of California Cities Post
Fowler City Councilman Daniel Parra earned a leadership post with a statewide advocacy group.
Parra will serve as the first vice president for the League of California Cities Board of Directors.
“I look forward to working together with local leaders from throughout the state to find solutions to our communities’ most pressing challenges,” Parra said in a news release.
The advocacy group’s mission is to “defend and expand local control through advocacy efforts in the Legislature, at the ballot box, in the courts, and through strategic outreach that informs and educates the public, policymakers, and opinion leaders” according to its website.
Fresno Man Appointed to State Pharmacy Board
Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed a Fresnan to the State Board of Pharmacy last week.
Kartikeya “KK” Jha, 43, works as a manager for Omnicare, a division of CVS.
The board regulates pharmacy workers and distributors of drugs and devices.
Jha, a Democrat, will earn $100 per meeting.