County cuts coming today

September 30, 2003 11:00 pm

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Del Norte County's ailing budget will get final touches today as the county's board of supervisors meets to sign off on it.

The board meets at 3:30 p.m. today, in the Flynn Administrative Center at 981 H Street. The board and county administrative officer, Jeannine Galatioto, are expected to announce then which county employees and jobs are victims of this year's budget cuts.

The county is required to submit its annual budget to the state of California today.

This year's county budget is expected to be about $34 million. That's about $1.7 million less than last year.

Two years ago, county officials battled a $3.8 million budget deficit and won without laying off any personnel.

This year, the county cut another $1.7 million out of operation costs due to continuing state budget crises, according to Galatioto, and will now have to cut employees.

"You can't keep demanding more services from the counties and continue holding back more and more funds. It doesn't work," Galatioto said about state strategies of cutting funds to California's counties while shifting more of the workload to local governments.

Many vacant county jobs have already been eliminated from the budget in the past three years. So far this year, the county has already cut employee pay by 5 percent.

The Del Norte County Sheriff's Department budget has been cut by nearly $600,000 in the last month, causing a significant decrease in patrol staff.

Sheriff Dean Wilson may make a pitch to the board of supervisors at today's hearing to shift money into his department to save jobs there.