COWnty Budget

February 1, 2013

According to a report to the Board of Supervisors from County Executive John Maltbie, unlike many California jurisdictions, our COWnty is in good financial condition with signs of improvement as the economy recovers. General Fund reserve levels are being maintained at around 20 percent of budget. There are two new revenue streams, the Vehicle Rental Tax which went in to effect last July and the Half Cent Tax which takes effect this coming April. San Mateo County continues to hold the distinction of being the only county in the state with AAA ratings from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. These ratings will keep borrowing costs to a minimum when bonds are issued for the replacement jail and other construction projects.

By implementing a two year budget process for upcoming Fiscal Years 2013-14 and 2014-15, hopefully the Board will be able to focus its attention on other issues.

However, it is a different story with regard to the Court budget. Effective February 4th, the Superior Court Clerk’s Office will have severely reduced public service hours. The Clerk’s Office attributes this change to “the unprecedented and ongoing State imposed budget cuts to the county trial courts of more than $1 billion over the past five years”.

The new hours mean that phones will be answered in all Superior Court Clerk’s Offices only from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. The new public counter/window hours for the Clerk’s Offices will be as follows: Civil, Family Law, Juvenile, Probate and Small Claims from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday–Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays; Criminal and Traffic from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday–Thursday and 8:00 to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays; the Records Division will continue to be open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday –Thursday, but will close at 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. However, drop boxes will still be available at each court location and any documents received by 4:00 p.m. will be deemed filed that day. We don’t know what the impact of these changes will be on our COWmunity but we are concerned.

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