Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called for a plan today to begin a 100-percent freeze on the purchase of all supplies and services and the replacement of fixed assets in all County departments.
The County’s Chief Executive Office has already applied a 25-percent cap on the services and supplies, and fixed assets budgets of all departments. This means departments can only spend up to 75-percent of the budgets that had been previously approved, with the remaining savings from this cost avoidance available to help offset future budget shortfalls. Under Knabe’s proposal, this 25-percent cap would be maximized to 100-percent, meaning that any equipment or supply purchases would be put through a process of rigorous review and extreme scrutiny before approval. Exceptions to this plan would be considered for the County’s emergency services, such as hospitals, public safety, and public health.
Los Angeles County’s current financial shortfalls have been minimal due to conservative financial spending in good fiscal years and the creation of rainy day funds for past budget surpluses. The County has been able to continue to all existing programs and services to residents through hiring freezes, cuts in administrative costs, and the use of reserves. Budget leaders have advised, however, that the County faces a deficit in the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year of several hundred million dollars.
Every computer and every desk we hold off on buying today means the impact will be less tomorrow, said Supervisor Knabe. Every dollar we save this year is a dollar we can apply to the deficit next year. Every little bit is going to help as we work to keep programs working and County services flowing.