With no news yet from Sacramento about when the state plans to pass its budget, Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith is already preparing a contingency plan. Many of the county’s programs are paid for with state funding, and some of these have to be paid up front. Ken Yeager, President of the Board of Supervisors, has agreed to fund the projects from the county’s own money in the expectation of being reimbursed, but as the budget debate drags on, he does not know when the county will be reimbursed, or even if it will be reimbursed in full.

Santa Clara’s budget was already stretched thin when it was passed, and diverting existing moneys to pay for wheat were ostensibly state-funded programs leaves the county in the lurch. Yeager warns that if this trend continues, the county will be left dry by December, or perhaps even as early as November. In effect, he warns, the county could cease to operate.

Now it is up to Smith to figure out how to shift around the money so that Santa Clara County can at least continue to pay its employees and offer basic services. The real challenge is that no one can be sure how long the Sacramento deadlock will continue or what its outcome might be. If funding is slashed, all the hard work on the current budget will have been for nothing.
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