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SD County Slashing Budget

— Department heads in San Diego County told the Board of Supervisors yesterday how budget cuts would affect county services. Less money equals fewer programs, longer wait times for assistance and more work for fewer employees. KPBS reporter Katie Orr has details.

The Supervisors heard presentations from five major county departments. It’s the first step in developing a budget for the next two fiscal years. Probation services, healthcare for children, community centers at county parks and county libraries are all among the items that could be affected by budget cuts. Supervisor Ron Roberts says there’s also the possibility of the state government taking about $70 million to help balance its budget.

“The state borrowing money isn’t nearly as secure as a sub-prime loan. It means it’ll be a long time, if ever, that we get it back,” he says.

County officials say the state is likely to raid county coffers if the budget propositions up for a vote next week don’t pass. The county plans to eliminate 771 jobs, though most are currently vacant. Ultimately officials expect to lay off less than 50 people.

Chief Administrative Officer Walter Ekard says the down turn in the stock market means the county will also have to make increased contributions to its retirement fund. He says the budget for next fiscal year will be nearly $5 billion. Ekard says people should expect more budget cuts to come. The County Supervisors will begin formal budget hearings in June.

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