Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 17, 2011

Proposed Alameda County budget cuts 111 positions plus programs

Administrator predicts longer waits for county services

by Jeb Bing

Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi is proposing a $2.5 billion budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year that closes a $138 million funding gap through a variety of measures.

Among those steps are eliminating 111 positions and making some cuts to programs in health care, public assistance and public protection.

However, Muranishi hopes that there won't be any layoffs, as most of the jobs slated to be eliminated are currently unfilled. The county will try to shift employees in positions that will be eliminated to other jobs, she said.

"We have a budget that's been balanced responsibly," Muranishi told reporters at a briefing.

The proposed budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 represents a 1%, or $25 million, increase over the current budget.

She said the economy is picking up but only at a slow pace.

"There is a slight ray of hope but it's minimal," Muranishi said.

She said that after two years of declines, the county's property tax base grew, but only by 1%.

Muranishi said although her proposed budget is balanced, the county probably will have to revise it later in this year to deal with likely funding cuts by the state and federal governments, which are both dealing with serious budget problems.

Noting that half of the county's revenue comes from the state and federal governments, she said, "There's a lot of uncertainty."

Muranishi said that although this is the third consecutive year that the county has had to deal with significant funding gaps, she is glad that, "We've been able to provide a basic level of services and not decimate them."

However, she said there is reduced staffing and there will probably be longer waits for county services.

Muranishi said she wishes that the county had more money to provide more services.

"There are some things we want to do that we aren't doing," she said.

Muranishi presented her proposed budget to the Board of Supervisors on June 9.

The board will hold public hearings on the budget on June 20, 21 and 22 and adopt a budget on June 24.

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