Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Approves Budget Including Funding Cuts for Health Programs
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Friday approved a balanced $3.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2004-2005 that includes $200 million in across-the-board funding cuts, including 10% reductions for mental health programs, drug and alcohol abuse programs and social services, the Gilroy Dispatch reports. Passage of the budget ended a six-month process, including a public testimony period in May. The county Social Services Agency's $12 million budget had been slated for a 16% funding reduction, but supervisors last week restored $735,000. With the restoration, the county will be able to continue operation of a 24-hour crisis, counseling and support services hotline run by Community Solutions. Budget cuts for mental health services and drug and alcohol programs also are lower than the 12% to 14% anticipated. The budget also includes plans to consolidate the county Office of the Medical Examiner/Coroner and Sheriff's Department, a move that is expected to save the county $235,000 by eliminating the chief medical examiner position and shifting some duties to the sheriff. In all, 550 county positions were eliminated from next year's budget, but most were county employees who took advantage of early retirement incentives. In anticipation of additional funding cuts from the state, the budget also includes a $47.3 million reserve (Stuenkel, Gilroy Dispatch, 6/21).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.