OAKLAND — Alameda County officials passed a budget late last week that will eliminate more than 100 county jobs and reduce some services — while also warning more cuts could be on the way.
The county's board approved the $2.44 billion 2010-11 budget Friday — closing a $152.4 million funding gap.
County Administrator Susan Muranishi said more reductions could be required as state officials consider proposals to shift funding away from local governments while increasing the burden on local governments to support needy families, care for the elderly and disabled, and supervise criminal offenders.
The large budget gap closed for this budget comes just one year after the county was forced to close an unprecedented $177.6 million funding shortfall. Muranishi said the deficit for 2010-11 was caused by ongoing decreases in property tax revenue and state and federal funding combined with a continued rise in requests for services for underemployment and unemployment.
"The first overall decline in county revenues in 50 years, combined with steadily increasing demand for services, makes budget balancing a very difficult and painful process," Muranishi said.
The approved budget totals $2.44 billion, an increase of $13.5 million — less than one percent — from the 2009-10 budget. It also calls for a workforce of 9,103 full-time positions — a reduction of 105.6 positions. Many of the staffing reductions involve vacant positions — or ones that are expected to be vacant soon — so layoffs may be avoided.
Among the many cuts are reductions in public protection programs totaling $42.8 million, including the elimination of 84 positions. The Sheriff's Office will lose 60 positions, including 43 sworn positions, and the Probation Department will lose 15. The Public Defender's and District Attorney's offices will lose a total of nine positions.
Other cuts likely will result in the closure of the Fairmont Animal Shelter in San Leandro as well as the Alameda County Sheriff's Community-Oriented Policing Unit and the Marine Patrol Unit.
More cuts could be on the way courtesy of Sacramento and the state's budget-balancing act. Some of the cuts being discussed by state lawmakers are the elimination of the CalWORKs Program, which provides short-term cash assistance and support for 20,000 families in Alameda County. Four hundred county employees help administer the CalWORKs Program, so their jobs also would be at risk. State lawmakers also are debating reductions in In-Home Supportive Services that likely would leave many of the 18,000 IHSS recipients in Alameda County without care and reduce employment opportunities for the county's 18,000 caregivers.