The county’s net property assessment roll is up $8.8 billion over last year and the 6.01 percent spike is the highest dollar amount and the fourth-largest dollar increase in its history.
The $156 billion total of the fiscal year 2013-14 combined roll is part of the county’s recently released fiscal snapshot which concluded that, while economic and financial indicators are improving, there remains challenges due to factors like state criminal justice realignment, long-term property tax reductions and implementing the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act’s impact on the county directly is expected to be fairly neutral but brings with it phased-in reduction in payments to hospitals with disproportional shares of uninsured and Medicaid patients like the county-operated San Mateo Medical Center. The county anticipates losing approximately $4 million in fiscal year 2013-14 and up to $17 million the next fiscal year because of large drops in state health realignment funds, according to Controller Bob Adler.
In the popular annual financial report — a shortened and summarized version of the comprehensive annual financial report released in October for fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 — Adler notes that fiscal year 2013-14 also marks the beginning of the governor’s new school finance reform plan that created a local control funding formula that will like reduce the extra property tax returned to local entities.
In the last fiscal year, the county’s overall tax revenues increased by $73 million. Of that, $17.7 million was one-time money from dissolution of the former redevelopment agencies and $24.9 million was an increase in excess property taxes left over after funding schools. Sales and use tax revenue also went up $14.6 million largely due to the Measure A half-cent sales tax approved in November 2012.
Another voter-approved tax — a 2.5 percent vehicle rental business license tax approved in June 2012 — also meant $7.9 million in new tax revenue for the county dating from July 1, 2012.
On top of looking at what money may be — or not be — coming into the county, the 16-page report also summarizes where the county is committing its funds. The county has a growing list of deferred maintenance project and budgets over the next two years spending more than $50 million on facilities and another $50 million on information technology. Some of the work will be funded by the Measure A half-cent sales tax revenue.
The capital improvement budget is $136 million this fiscal year followed by $83 million the next. This includes $158 million in bonds and general fund investments in the upcoming Maple Street Correctional Center currently being built.
The county’s jails, new and existing, are also key factors in the county’s capital assets which increased 2 percent, or $15 million, to $856 million. This includes $11.3 million for the Maple Street jail and a half-million to upgrade the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for the existing Maguire Correctional Facility and county hospital.
The county’s long-term debt dropped $15 million, or 4 percent, this last fiscal year although that figure does not include pensions and other retirement liabilities.
The full report is available online at www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/controller/2013PAFR.pdf.
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