County sups OK $2.4 billion budget that cuts jobs, services

But most positions being cut are already vacant

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Friday to approve a $2.44 billion budget for fiscal 2011 that closes a $150 million budget gap by cutting 105 jobs and reducing services.

County Administrator Susan Muranishi said the county is closing its $152.4 million funding gap through a combination of permanent program reductions, revenue increases and one-time strategies, such as department savings and givebacks by employee unions that agreed to wage freezes for the next three years.

Most of the 105 jobs that are being cut are vacant. The county hopes to avoid laying off people in the positions that are still filled through retirements and shifting people to other jobs that are vacant.

Although the funding gap is significant, it's smaller than the $178 million budget gap for fiscal 2010 that ends on June 30.

One reason the county had to cut its budget is that this is the first time in at least 50 years that its revenues have declined. The county's revenues have dropped by 4.4 percent because of declines in property taxes, sales taxes and interest earnings.

The budget is only 0.3 percent, or $8.2 million, higher than the budget for fiscal 2010.

Muranishi said Alameda County has had to make a total of $1 billion in budget cuts and eliminate 1,500 jobs in the last nine years because of a dramatic reduction in funding from the state government.

She said, "It is time for the state government to take the steps needed to solve its own structural budget problems without relying on local government."

Several supervisors joined Muranishi for blaming the state government for the county's budget difficulties.

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