Supervisor Weygandt says revenue is improving but not fast enough

By: Carol Percy, Reporter Lincoln News Messenger
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As a self-styled “hard-core” fiscal conservative, Supervisor Robert Weygandt said that “one of Placer County’s biggest challenges is that it’s located in the state of California.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

During a 90-minute slide presentation to a group of Lincoln seniors, the District 2 supervisor said that “Placer County could manage its resources just fine,” left to its own devices.

“But the state hammers us (the county) fiscally,” Weygandt said. “All we can do is manage our own fiscal resources as best we can. Our biggest threat is state government.”

Weygandt’s “State of the County” talk a week ago Monday at Kilaga Springs Presentation Hall in Lincoln Hills covered county-specific issues, such as regionalization, land conservancy and Placer’s fiscal health. 

“By law, we must pass a balanced budget,” Weygandt said. “Our revenue outlook is improving but not fast enough to keep pace with likely cost increases.”

To counter those increases, Weygandt said, the county looks for creative ways to trim costs and to plan ahead. Some measures the county has employed include adopting employee furlough days, hiring freezes, implementing two-tier pension plans, placing projects on hold and using reserve funds.

The county budget for 2012 – 2013 is $757 million, according to Weygandt.

Lincoln Hills resident Denny Valentine said the supervisor provided an insightful look into county government.

“I thought he had a very good grasp of all the functions of county government and did a good job of sharing them with the audience,” Valentine said.

 An 18-year veteran on the Placer County Board of Supervisors, Weygandt took office in 1995. His mission statement says that he wants to “maximize the value of county services and provide the leadership needed to help guide one of the fastest growing counties in California.”

District 2 comprises the western portion of Placer County, including Lincoln, Sheridan, most of Rocklin and part of west Roseville.

Weygandt is one of five members on the board of supervisors, who are elected for four-year terms and have legislative, executive and judicial functions. Weygandt oversees the largest district, by land mass, in the county.

One “hot topic” the supervisor’s presentation included was on the Midwestern Regional Sewer Project that has been 16 years in the making. Preliminary work is underway, Weygandt said, and pipeline construction will begin in the fall.

Also discussed was the Placer Legacy plan, adopted to protect open space areas and to control growth. One example of the plan’s successful projects is the 1100-acre Hidden Falls Regional Park open to hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers.

A 45-year resident of Placer County, Weygandt lives on the 80-acre foothills ranch in rural Lincoln where he grew up. He graduated from Lincoln High School and the University of Southern California. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance and management.

Asked if he likes his job as supervisor, Weygandt said that the county “has been good” to him and “most of the time,” he enjoys his work, especially when he’s “able to make a positive difference.”

“When you work hard on a project and see that it’s made a difference, that’s when things really connect for me, Weygandt said.