County prepares for budget cuts



SLO County officials plan to deal with a widening budget gap by holding off on new hires, cutting back on travel and training, delaying some maintenance, and cutting back on some supplies.

In large part, according to County Administrator David Edge, the 2.5 percent budget cuts won't be noticeable to the public.

The notable exceptions to that statement are in the areas of probation and health and human services, where the loss of several employees will mean a loss in mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services and a potential end to some programs, such as car seat classes.

The cuts come from plans that department managers began making in October to deal with forecasts of a budget crunch.

With recent news of the scale of the state's budget crisis, the county's situation is probably only likely to get worse--possibly to the tune of more than $23 million, Edge said.

He stressed that county supervisors have to be prepared for the situation to go downhill.

"Clearly, all of the numbers on both a worldwide and domestic United States level, all of the economic indicators, suggest that if we don't hit recession we'll be amazingly lucky," Edge said.

The county's budget is due for final approval in the summer.

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