Tuesday, September 10, 2002
San Bernardino Courts to Soften Davis Budget Cuts by Using Carry-Over Savings
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The San Bernardino Superior Courts will endure a 3.7 percent budget cut, but the shortage will be softened by savings carried over from last year, Court Executive Officer Tressa Kentner said yesterday.
This year’s budget for San Bernardino Superior Court is $65,394,649.
Gov. Gray Davis last week signed legislation enacting a $98.9 billion state budget, including nearly $1.6 billion for the state’s courts.
San Bernardino court officials managed to save nearly $1.5 million last year, largely by slowing down the hiring process for new employees, Kentner said.
While avoiding a hiring freeze, court officials delayed hiring new employees and carefully evaluated each vacancy before hiring new employees, Kentner said, allowing the court to carry over those savings to apply against the current year’s reduced budget.
“We think next year will be really bad,” Kentner said, adding that San Bernardino court officials have been “really careful” with management of local funds.
“Of course, this court has never really had money,” she pointed out, adding that local courts have benefited from the transfer of court funding from counties to the state. “[State funding] has helped us a great deal. We are better off, but we’re careful to manage our resources.”
The budget legislation was signed 67 days after the deadline set in the state Constitution. It “reduces General Fund spending for only the third time in 50 years,” the governor emphasized.
Last year’s budget totaled about $103 billion.
“It is not a perfect document,” Davis said of this year’s fiscal plan during a brief press conference at the Capitol, “but it does take an important step to meeting the state’s fiscal challenges.”
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company