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SLO County budget surplus now a deficit after 'human error' - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

SLO County budget surplus now a deficit after 'human error'

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An $8 million mistake. That's what San Luis Obispo County found in next year's general budget forecast. 

"It was human error. The $8 million was overlooked, unfortunately," said County Budget Director Emily Jackson. 

Earlier this month, the county projected a surplus in the budget of $3-5 million. However, after discovering an oversight, that surplus is now a deficit of $2.8-4.8 million.

"It's common, it's human, everyone does that. I'm glad I'm not responsible for it though," said Bobby Gallow, San Luis Obispo resident. 

The county says recently approved salary increases were "inadvertently omitted in the calculations." Basically, someone forgot to include those numbers in the spreadsheet.  

"There's lots of sensitivity in the forecast. We are dealing with very large numbers, so a minor swing to any one of those numbers can swing a surplus to a gap and vice versa in any given year," Jackson said.

The county says, as of right now, they do not anticipate this shortfall to impact any public services or county construction projects. 

"The thing to keep in mind, we have plenty of time to plan for this. We will be working to identify ways we can close this gap without impacting service levels," Jackson said. 

But some residents are scratching their heads, trying to understand how such an error could occur.

"Especially with them saying they had more, kind of comes off a little odd. Trying to hide it, maybe? I don't know," said Benjamin Foster, Grover Beach resident. 

Local Certified Public Accountant Charles Porter says these mistakes aren't unusual. 

"I urge people consider avoiding conspiracy theories. It's a matter of finding a glitch, which they did, which can be resolved," Porter said.

The county budget director says the county takes full responsibility for the mistake. They say this is the first time they've made one this large and they'll be working to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The county will look over the revised budget forecast at the Board of Supervisors meeting on November 7.

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