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County sheriff outlines impacts of $22 million in budget cuts

Ahern warns reduction will force 101 job cuts, loss of services

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern told the county's Board of Supervisors yesterday that making nearly $22 million in cuts to his department's budget was "a very difficult task."

Speaking at a public hearing on the county's proposed budget for public protection services, Ahern said the cuts will force him to cut 101 jobs and reduce the services that the sheriff's office provides.

He said the impacts will include delays in getting inmates to and from court, reduced visiting hours for family members of inmates, reduced laundry services and delays in responding to non-urgent calls for service.

At the beginning of Tuesday's hearing, which began 45 minutes late and was packed with people upset about the proposed budget cuts, County Administrator Susan Muranishi said the county must make cuts in public protection and other services to close a $180 million funding gap, the largest it has ever faced.

"This is a responsible budget that will let us live within our means," Muranishi said. She warned board members to be mindful that further cuts could be necessary if the state makes additional cuts to funding for local government.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote tomorrow on adopting the county's budget for fiscal year 2009-10.

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