Here’s what you need to know

  • The Fresno County Board of Supervisors met on September 12, 2022 and approved the county’s fiscal year 2022-2023 budget of $4.45 billion. The budget includes bulking up the county’s reserves with $7 million going toward its general reserve fund of $70 million and $10 million contributing to a $20 million budget economic stabilization reserve. 
  • The budget includes $22.3 million for capital projects, including $8 million toward a new ag commissioner facility, $8 million towards the Board/CAO Hall of Records update, $4.8 million for the West Annex Jail and Sheriff Substation and $1.5 million towards moving the sheriff dispatch center to Hamilton yard. 
  • Three of the four public comments made during the meeting were in support of SEIU 2015 and an increase in wages for in-home supportive services workers who make $15.60 per hour to care for disabled and elderly residents in their homes. Chairman Pacheco said that he would put an item on the agenda before the end of the year to discuss funding for IHSS and the role the board plays in it because he said “there’s still some confusion in that.” 

Follow-up questions

  • Why was there so little public input at the county’s budget hearings?
  • How is the IHSS program funded? Is the county adequately funding the program and can they decide to raise the hourly wage? 
  • Why is a new ag commissioner facility needed and where will it be located?
  • How will the expansion of the Kerman landfill impact surrounding communities and residents?
Assistant County Administrator Greg Reinke presented Fresno County’s budget to the board of supervisors on September 12, 2022.


Brian Pacheco, 1st District, Chairman 

Sal Quintero, 3rd District, Vice-Chairman

Steve Brandau, 2nd District 

Buddy Mendes, 4th District 

Nathan Magsig, 5th District 

Also present

Paul Nerland, County Administrative Officer (CAO)

Daniel C. Cederborg, County Counsel

Bernice E. Seidel, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors

Greg Reinke, Assistant County Administrator

The scene

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors met on Monday, September 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the Fresno County Hall of Records. 

The live video stream was not working right away and when I called was told that they are working on it. It began working around 9:45 a.m., but was very spotty. An audio stream was also available. 

All board members were present during roll call. Mendes introduced Sheriff Margaret Mims  and said this would be her last budget hearing as a county employee. She then said the pledge of allegiance. 


  • County Administrative Officer Paul Nerland presented a review of the budget:
    • He said the compressor went out on the AC the last time they had a power outage, but staff had worked to fix it and he thanked them. 
    • Nerland said they have more followers on social media than ever before and are now on TikTok. 
  • Nerland presented the recommended budgets:
    • “We typically budget way below what we expect we receive,” he said. 
    • He introduced Greg Reinke to present the budget in more detail:
      • $4.45 billion, an increase of $343 million. 
      • He said the major increases are in human services and justice services. 
        • Human services, include CalWorks and aid to adoption and foster care.
  • The General Fund budget totals $2.2 billion, an increase of $122 million or 6% over the previous fiscal year. 
  • Nerland said the general reserves has been budgeted at $70 million and a budget mitigation fund at $20 million. 
    • He said the general reserve is an emergency use and budget mitigation is available for use if needed. “It’s another safety cushion that we have for use should we need it.” 
  • Nerland said the last two budgets didn’t include salary increases, but this one does. 
  • Nerland said he knows they have potentially challenging economic times ahead and they will be prudent. 
  • Nerland said the updated general plan has been in the works and recently there was input from the attorney general that has been incorporated. 
  • Reinke said they added $10 million for economic stabilization reserve from one-time funding
    • $7 million to general reserves
    • $8 million for new Agricultural Commissioner Building 
    • $8 million for board of supervisors/CAO office space
    • $1.5 million for sheriff dispatch yard move to Hamilton yard
    • $4.8 million for West Annex Jail and sheriff substation
      • Jail completed by next calendar year, sheriff substation completed by end of this fiscal year. 
  • General reserves have grown over the last several years. 
  • Reinke thanked all departments and staff involved in creation of the budget. He said they had a new budget module that made it a “tremendous task.” 
  • Comments from the board: 
    • Magsig said that he appreciates that the CAO’s office has identified one-time revenues. He said that he also appreciates building the reserves and the budget mitigation reserve. 
      • He said that he thought it was important for them to continue to budget funding for an arrangement with CALFire and also with LAFC0. 
      • “Overall I think it’s a prudent budget and look forward to comments from my colleagues and other departments if they choose to come up and speak.”
    • Quintero thanked staff for going over the budget with them. 
      • He said “it’s the usual thing that happens that there will be some folks that are going to be happy and some that aren’t so happy, but in the long run it’s something that best serves everyone.” 
    • Brandau commented on the cover of the budget and that it illustrated why the county exists. 
      • He said that at church on Sunday someone told him “save Fresno, so they misunderstand the difference between the county and the city.” 
      • He said that he thought all the different departments and what they do were all highlighted. 
      • Nerland said they will be printed in a magazine format and can be handed out. 
      • Brandau said that he agrees with Magsig about “beefing up the reserve considering the national economy and potential threats to funding coming into the county.” 
    • Mendes said that the air board was also really bad about telling their story because they didn’t have the staff. 
      • He said he heard that growth was slowing down and total taxes are rising, but that there’s now two major metropolitan cities. San Francisco was one of them that are in the negative. He said it’s because they “scared all the business out of town and there’s not as many transactions so they are actually declining.” 
      • “The only major cities that aren’t declining are in the Valley, so that’s a good thing for us.” 
      • Nerland said Amazon was a factor in that and Prop. 22 would take a percentage of sales tax the county receives and exempt it, which would be detrimental to the county. So with the board’s help they will watch it and advocate against it. 
    • Pacheco thanked his colleagues for their comments and said he was pleased to report that the CAO has already printed pamphlets of the budget at the suggestion of Brandau. 
      • He said they will be displayed at the State of the County and distributed. 
      • He said they will not wait for the end of the meeting for general comments since comments should be able to be made in each of the categories being made. 

Comments by category

  • General Fund 0001: 
    • Supervisor Magsig said one thing that came to his mind was vacant buildings since he said they pay $2.5 million on vacant buildings and security on the properties. He said if there are no future plans with the buildings then they should be mindful of the costs. 
    • Supervisor Mendes said that what Magsig said is “very important.” 
    • Mariana Alvarenga with Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability said they work with residents in Cantua Creek, El Porvenir, Lenare and Tombstone Territory. 
      • She said they provided the board with a list of priorities that they hear from residents at community meetings throughout the years, which include:
        • $20 million for road maintenance and complete streets
        • $15 million for parks and green spaces
        • $20 million for community resiliency centers
        • $5 million for mobile health clinics
        • $5 million for broadband infrastructure. 
      • She said they also asked for the community to be engaged and involved in the budget process. 
    • Vicki with SEIU 2015 spoke and said she was there with all the providers in Fresno County. She wore a purple SEIU 2015 shirt and at least seven others seated behind her also wore purple shirts. 
      • She said their contract is up at the end of the year. 
      • “During the pandemic, it showed us the importance of caregivers, especially because we were able to keep folks out of the emergency room during the pandemic,” she said. 
      • She said she wants to make sure that IHSS caregivers are considered in the budget because the IHSS recipients who receive their care, depend on them. 
      • “Caregivers work hard and they currently don’t have any vacation pay, holiday pay or pensions like all of you do,” she said. 
      • Chairman Pacheco said that before the end of the year he would put an item on the agenda to discuss SEIU 2015 and the home health care providers to discuss the funding sources for that, how they get paid and what role the board has in that. 
        • “I believe that even after all these years, there’s still some confusion in that,” he said. 
    • Debbie Darden spoke and said she was also in support of SEIU 2015, in home supportive services and eligibility workers.
      • “These people are making $15.60 to $15.90 an hour, because the wages went up by law is the reason they received this increase, she said. “These people work diligently very hard every single day to provide services for those who are disabled, including mental illness.”
      • She said the eligibility workers work five days a week doing intake for several individuals that need the services that Fresno County provides. “But they can not survive off of $15.60 an hour, many of them are single parents or single people and cannot afford the housing in the city of Fresno,” she said. 
      • She said $20 to $25 per hour is what they would need to make to survive. 
      • “You should look at who is really keeping Fresno County going, it is those on the lowest totem pole of the minimum wage,” she said. “Please consider that and I ask you to ask yourselves if you were making $15.60 an hour would you be sitting on this board representing these districts, I don’t think you would.” 
      • In closing, she asked the board to “value the people who are actually doing a lot of the work that you see in these budget reports now and value them and celebrate them as much as you are the County of Fresno budget being printed out on paper.” 
    • IHSS Caregiver Lynette Vanderburg said she has been a caregiver for over six years. She thanked the board for their work on the budget. 
      • She said she doesn’t care for a loved one and is a caregiver as her occupation. 
      • She said she cooks, makes sure medications are taken, helps her clients socialize, provides incontinence care, exercise and does light housekeeping. 
      • “I have to have four jobs in order to sustain myself and I have one IHSS client, but that is not enough because of the hourly wage,” she said. “I love what I do because I know I am affecting my community in a positive way and I am giving a better quality of life to my clients. I am also reducing the cost of emergency services for the city by protecting my clients and keeping them safe, especially making sure they take their meds in a timely manner as to keep them alive.” 
      • She said the last contract took nine years to get an increase of 60 cents above the minimum wage. 
    • Supervisor Brandau asked questions about public works items on page 74: an increase in the budget for cleaning up homeless encampments, “We’re doubling that, which I’m thankful for because we’re getting hit harder than ever with these types of things in our cities,” he said. 
      • He then asked about $1 million for follow-up studies on the proposed county industrial park. “How much of that $1 million is left to continue studying that potential project,” he said. 
        • Nerland said that although they have made the investment in encampment clean ups, it will take more than that. 
        • Bernard Jimenez with the Department of Public Works and Planning said that he doesn’t have an exact amount, but the majority of the $1 million fund remains. 
      • Brandau then asked about $3 million for a courthouse underground parking structure. 
        • Nerland said they have been aware of doing a structural assessment and are beginning the secondary phase of it.
        • Staff said the structure is sound and they anticipate in the next two to three weeks they will work to determine what and where repairs will be needed. They are working to give the structure another 20 to 40 years of life. 
        • Pacheco said they are on a committee to modernize the structure and are waiting on a report before they bring it to the board. 
          • “We’re very old, we’re very outdated and in need of repairs on this structure,” he said. 
      • Brandau asked about staff recommendations on page 144 and why he didn’t see anything that “screams code enforcement.” 
        • Staff said that they have already authorized them to move forward with hiring more employees and are remodeling space to allow them to expand the department.  
      • Brandau asked about the county obtaining a grant for a trail on Rice Road. 
        • Staff said they weren’t sure if it was successful and would have to check. 
    • Pacheco said that he understood that the Sheriff’s Department was allocated five more positions through cost-saving measures and that it has come to their attention that they are concerned about letting new recruits go. 
      • He said that he understood their vacancy rate is in the single digits. 
      • Nerland said they have agreed to come back no later than December 13 to address those issues. He said the vacancy rate is in the single digits. 
    • The supervisors approved the general fund expenses.
  • Capital Projects (juvenile justice campus, west annex jail, sheriff’s substation, hall of records, Clovis and Reedley libraries, parks, etc.):
    • No public comments were made. 
    • Supervisor Mendes asked where they were with an “agriculture capital project.” According to the budget, $4 million has been allocated for the design and architectural services for a new agricultural commissioner – weights and measures building. 
      • Nerland said they were looking at a possible location for the building and doing outreach for those who could benefit from it. 
      • He said they want to make sure the public has the chance to give input on the location of that facility. 
      • Chair Pacheco said they are doing an outreach session with the Farm Bureau and Nisei Farmers League. He said there was also talk that a private philanthropist may come in and help with the effort, but they are waiting on the location. 
      • Pacheco said it is in the early stages. 
      • Magsig clarified that they have $25 million set aside for the facility. 
      • “I think it shows that the CAO’s office and this board clearly recognizes the importance of the ag commissioner and having a facility that will be state of the art and also too that we are the number one ag county in the world,” Magsig said. 
      • Magsig said he spoke with the ag commissioner and she had shared with him that “she wants to make sure that wherever that facility is located that it works well for everybody who’s involved, not only in her office, but she doesn’t want to be an afterthought maybe added onto another facility that doesn’t function well with her.” 
      • “I think it’s one of the top allocations in our budget and it just demonstrates the importance of agriculture in Fresno County,” Magsig said. 
      • Mendes said maybe it could be a “little more convenient than it is now.” 
    • Mendes asked about the status of the Reedley Library. 
      • Nerland said it is moving along and may be their first design built. 
      • He said they recently had a community meeting. 
    • Brandau asked about the Clovis Library. 
      • “I’m really worried about how we’re progressing on this library in Clovis,” he said. 
      • He referred to Magsig and that he organized a meeting over three years ago about it when Brandau joined the board. 
      • Magsig said that he spoke to the Clovis city manager the day prior at the 9/11 Memorial  ceremony in Clovis. 
      • He said the budget allocates some additional money of $3 million (total of $18 million) through Measure B funds for the library project. 
      • Magsig said there were mitigation measures that needed to take place, but there is property that has been identified for the library for 5-6 years. 
      • He said staff is meeting with the Clovis Friends of the Library this week to give them an update. 
      • “We’re still moving forward, it’s very frustrating for me,” Magsig said. “And I know it’s frustrating for the citizens of Clovis who have been patiently waiting for over 20 years for a much deserved new library because based on the population of Clovis, 124,000 people, has one library which has been used for at least 35-40 years, it’s one of the highest utilized locations and undersized in the whole county.”
      • Brandau said his update was “very similar” to what they were told six months ago. 
      • “Should you and I representing parts of Clovis call for a meeting and demonstrate that we are urgent about moving forward on this,” Brandau said. 
      • Magsig said he is open to that and it should be him, Brandau and Quintero. 
        • They raised the point that it would be a “serial meeting” so Magsig suggested putting them on the agenda for a future meeting. 
      • Brandau asked Ramon to let the Clovis Friends of the Library that night that moving forward is a priority. 
        • Ramon said that until DTSC lets them know what is on the site, they don’t know what mitigation measures are needed. 
        • Ramon said there is a vapor barrier already, but he doesn’t know what the mitigation will be. 
      • Quintero said he spoke to one of the Clovis city council members at the 9-11 ceremony as well and suggested the county go to DTSC directly to try and get a response. 
        • He said it seems like everything else is getting built around there, the transit center and senior center. 
      • Mendes thanked the Reedley City Manager because the Reedley library has been a much easier project. 
      • Pacheco said that Highway City is number three in line “and I don’t mind going to number two pretty quick.”
        • “Our land is already secure for Highway City,” he said. 
    • The supervisors approved the Capital Projects budget. 
  • Debt Service Fund:
    • Magsig asked about pension obligation bonds and said that the last bond payment is going out in 2034. He asked if any of the payments will increase over the next three to five years. 
      • “This is important because if we enter a recession that could be a lot of positions if we don’t have revenue to cover it,” he said. 
      • Reinke said that he was right and the last payment is in 2034 with a $63 million payment and gradually increases up to that. 
      • Quintero said, “that’s a pretty big debt” and several board members agreed and said that we didn’t do. 
      • Pacheco said the pension obligation bond will be paid in 2034 and in 2035 the board will have “$63 million more unallocated.” 
      • Reinke said the payment this year is $38 or $39 million. 
    • The supervisors approved the budget for the debt service fund. 
  • Internal Service Funds (including human resources and internal services department): 
    • No comments were made. 
    • Approved. 
  • Enterprise Funds (public works and planning, disposal sites):
    • Mendes asked how they are set up if they are going to buy additional land at the Kerman disposal site. 
      • A staff member said they have reserves 
    • Mendes asked how they are set up for buying additional land for the Kerman disposal site. 
      • Nerland asked a county employee to come up. 
      • He said they have additional reserves for expansion and that within the next year or two they will be starting the land use entitlement process to expand it. 
      • Mendes asked how much land they need to acquire. He was told it would be 300 to 600 areas for operations and a bugger. 
      • Pacheco asked how large it is now and was told it’s about that size now. 
      • Pacheco asked how much life or usage is left out of it and was told “we are probably in the ten-year range.” 
      • Staff said they are looking at a 20-30 year life for the expansion. 
      • Staff said it would be easier to expand that location, rather than go out and find a new location. 
      • Staff said they may be looking to acquire land that is currently used for agriculture, which would take the demand for water off the grid. 
      • Pacheco asked if they were in discussions with the City of Kerman. 
      • Staff said they would be reaching out to Kerman. 
      • Pacheco said as a courtesy the City of San Joaquin and nearby neighbors should be notified also. 
      • “We’ll probably get that done before the Clovis library would be my guess,” Pacheco said with a laugh. 
    • Magsig said that he thinks their landfill “will be an asset for them.” 
      • He asked if the funds from methane go back into the enterprise fund and was told they do. 
      • He said ten years is not very long with the time that traffic and environmental studies will take. 
      • He asked if they were also looking at egress and ingress. 
      • Staff said they did add alternative entry points recently and will look at them as part of the expansion. 
    • Approved. 
  • Special Revenue/Trust Funds (assessor-recorder, county administrative office, library, public health, public works):
    • Magsig said there may be additional grant opportunities to remove high risk trees for fire risk. 
      • Staff said they are recovering .94 cents of every dollar through the state, so they are doing well. 
      • Staff said they are “very efficient” and it is a partnership with public health. 
      • Magsig said he would be meeting with Dean Gould. 
      • He said he wants to make sure they continue to make efforts toward fire safety since they have the money. 
    • Brandau asked about a code enforcement fund. 
      • He said what he would like to know is that sometimes the fines of $100 get “blown off.” 
      • Cederborg said they raise it to $200 for the second violation and third and fourth violations to $500. 
      • Pacheco said they wanted to increase the first violation to $500. 
      • “I think it would be the consent of the board to go to the maximum allowed by the law,” he said. 
      • Cederborg said he can bring it back to them within 60 days. 
      • He said there will be a regulatory program coming before them. 
      • Pacheco reiterated that items on SEIU 2015, sheriff’s positions and “code enhancement” would be coming back before the board. 
      • Nerland said public works is having monthly meetings with code enforcement and the sheriff’s department. 
      • Pacheco said in 60 days or less the code enforcement item needs to come back before the board. 
      • “I’m really happy that in Fresno, we aren’t looking to find people but when we do find them I want to have teeth,” Brandau said. 
    •  Quintero said this has been the best budget process and complimented the staff. 
    • Mendes said in the past they had department heads come up and “beg for money.” 
    • Pacheco complimented the CAO and staff members involved in creating the budget. 
    • Approved. 

As a follow up item, a member of the public spoke and said he was “having issues” with his daughter and CPS. Pacheco said a member of the clerk’s office would take his name and number and address the issue he is having. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the FY 2022-2023 budget of $4.45 billion. 

The meeting adjourned a little after 11 a.m. The next regular Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting is at 9:30 a.m. on September 20.

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