Contra Costa County Departments Face Cuts To Balance Budget
Contra Costa County officials on Tuesday proposed "sweeping cuts" to the budget that could include funding cuts for mental health services and public safety programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. County Health Director William Walker presented a list of 88 budget reductions that would eliminate up to $25 million from the county Department of Health Services. Walker's list was drafted after county Administrator John Sweeten, facing a $53 million shortfall, asked every county department to compile two lists of proposed spending reductions to cut their budgets by 10% and 20%. Walker's proposals include:
- Closing the George Miller Centers in Richmond and Concord, which serve developmentally disabled residents, saving $1.7 million;
- Eliminating the county Driving Under the Influence education and prevention program, saving $200,000; and
- Closing the Born Free programs, which help pregnant women with drug and alcohol abuse problems, saving $300,000.
"This is by far the worst budget I've had to deal with since I've been here," Walker said. Wendel Bruner, county director of public health, said the cuts "would not leave the county barren of public services," the Chronicle reports. Bruner said "[s]ome other agency" could provide the eliminated services. "Our primary concern is not to provide the services but to ensure that the services are provided in the community," Bruner said. County supervisors have taken no action on the proposal. Other departments including sheriff, district attorney and public works have not yet proposed itemized lists of cuts. A balanced budget must be approved by June 29 (Sebastian, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.