Riverside County and state finances improving

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County Executive Jay Orr is “cautiously optimistic” about Riverside County’s current budget and financial direction, he told the Board of Supervisors in his “First Quarter Report.”

In September, the supervisors approved a final budget for fiscal year 2014-15 (which began July 1) totaling $637.4 million. None of the projected problems, such as departmental deficits for the Sheriff, District Attorney and Fire Department, have been alleviated.

Nevertheless, Orr did not recommend any changes in using the $23.6 million contingency fund that is part of the budget.

He indicated that assessed values of property within the county have “resume[d] a more steady increase” and no new budget problems have surfaced.

“… at this early stage, I recommend continuing to monitor those budget units and deferring action to address those matters until later in the fiscal year,” Orr said in his cover memorandum.

He plans to submit a mid-year report to the board in early February.

The financial status is also demonstrating improvement. California’s economic growth propelled revenues higher in September, while spending remained in check, according to the State Controller’s latest cash report.

Total revenues in September reached $9.8 billion and beat forecasts contained in the 2014-15 Budget Act by $671 million, or 7.4 percent. All of the major revenue generators — personal income, corporate income and retail sales taxes — surpassed expectations. In addition, total disbursements fell below the Department of Finance projections in September by $156 million, or 1.1 percent.

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