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County officials project near $178M budget gap

 

Alameda County officials said today that they are projecting a $177.6 million budget gap for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Details of the county's budget were released following a meeting of the county's Budget Work Group on Tuesday.

County Administrator Susan Muranishi said in a statement, "This is the largest budget gap that that the county has faced since 1992-93 and it

represents a convergence of unprecedented circumstances that create an economic storm."

Muranishi said, "The housing crisis and the economic downturn are eating into our revenues at a time when unemployment and other factors are

causing the demand for county services to soar."

In addition, she said turmoil in the financial markets has resulted in significant losses in the county's pension fund that must be made up through increased employer contributions.

Supervisor Keith Carson, who chairs the Budget Work Group, said "This will be the year of significant layoffs and downsizing of service

delivery."

Carson said, "The road ahead will be a very difficult one. At a time when people in our community need us the most, we will be closing doors and cutting back much-needed services. Everyone will begin to feel the pain - directly and indirectly."

Muranishi said the county's 2008-09 budget is balanced and the county will end the current fiscal year in balance due to prudent budgeting

and tough choices, including ongoing cost-cutting measures throughout the year.

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