Ventura County Supervisors Ask County Executive Officer To Find Way to Avoid Health Program Cuts
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday instructed County Executive Officer Johnny Johnston to review the fiscal year 2004-2005 budget without implementing proposed cuts to health and social service programs, the Los Angeles Times reports (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 6/9). The current proposal, which was presented last week, includes plans to eliminate 89 positions from the county Behavioral Health Agency; eliminate the county's Senior Nutrition Program; and reduce by 75% the county Veterans Services funding. The budget, which aims to resolve a projected $36 million deficit for the next fiscal year, also calls for cutting 689 county jobs, including currently vacant positions and 300 layoffs (California Healthline, 6/4).
Supervisors acknowledged that it was "unlikely there would be any new infusion of cash to bail out threatened programs" and reaffirmed that they would avoid using reserves to fund operational costs, the Times reports. However, supervisors instructed Johnston to find any "crumbs" that could be used to offset proposed funding cuts. Supervisor John Flynn asked his colleagues to remember the "poorest and sickest among us" while determining the proposed funding cuts and suggested that board members reduce their own salaries by 20%. Supervisors asked Johnston to conduct the review during the next two weeks. After the review, the county will hold public hearings on the $1.3 billion budget plan on June 21 before its final adoption (Los Angeles Times, 6/9).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.