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County faces even more cuts

POSTED June 3, 2011 7:34 p.m.

Stanislaus County’s proposed 2011-2012 budget calls for a further $24.5 million spending cut and the elimination of vacant positions, but no further reductions in force in a rare bright spot after years of layoffs.

The proposed $894 million budget, up for approval on Tuesday, represents a 2.7 percent spending decline from 2010-2011, and a more than $72 million decrease from 2008-2009. Those cuts have been driven by sharply declining tax revenue, as Stanislaus County was among the hardest hit in the nation by the foreclosure crisis.

“The Recommended Proposed Budget, when taken as an integral element of the county’s multi-year budgeting approach, will support the county’s efforts to proactively respond to the financial crisis we continue to face as a region and as a nation,” said Rick Robinson, chief executive officer for Stanislaus County.  “As an organization, we have worked collaboratively to define program solutions that will work in our rapidly changing environment.”

The budget would eliminate 28 positions which are currently vacant, but would restore funding to nine previously unfunded positions. Factoring in previously authorized reductions in force and defunded positions throughout the year, the county would have 170 fewer positions than in 2010-2011, and 883 fewer positions than in 2008-2009.

“We are now staffing the organization at less than 1996 levels,” said Stan Risen, assistant executive officer for Stanislaus County. “It is becoming increasingly more challenging to address the growing needs of our community with fewer and fewer resources.”

The proposed budget is available to review at the Board of Supervisors Office, in any county library, or online at www.stancounty.com/budget

The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing to adopt the Recommended Proposed Budget at 9:05 a.m. on Tuesday, in the Board Chambers at 1010 Tenth St., Modesto. Should sufficient public comment occur, the meeting – and a final decision – could be extended to Wednesday and Thursday.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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