San Mateo County budget both gives and takes away

San Mateo County’s projected 2011-12 budget, released this week, restored $18 million in spending but still calls for $129 million in cuts and the elimination of 208 positions.

Even with those cuts, the budget still calls for the use of $48 million in reserves to balance the budget. Officials hope to stop dipping into reserves by the next fiscal year.

“We spend $82 million more than we’re bringing in,” budget manager Jim Saco said. “With these cuts we still have a $48 million deficit so the message is that even if you adopt these cuts, we still have more work to do.”

Of the cuts, $29 million will come out of programs and services for the public.

“Human services, health and probation are the biggest cuts,” Saco said.

For example, the Margaret J. Kemp Camp, a rehabilitation center for girls in the juvenile justice system, would be closed entirely, and 10 staff positions would be wiped out.

The girls would be moved to the county’s Juvenile Hall. The camp was targeted for closure because only eight to 12 girls are typically kept there at any one time, yet the facility costs the county more than $2 million a year to maintain, Saco said.

Around $1.8 million will be cut from eligibility determination programs, which review whether applicants for county services truly meet the requirements.

Child welfare services will be cut $2.2 million and $166,000 will be cut from the domestic violence prevention and intervention services. Vocational rehab services will be cut by $379,000, and child care $432,000.

Other cuts will occur in the District Attorney’s Office, primarily in case investigations, prosecutions and victim’s services.

Funding for Flood Park in Menlo Park was partially restored so the park will be able to operate until June 2012 — but after that, it will need to find an additional funding source, Saco said.

Among the 208 positions which will be eliminated, 65 are currently filled, although there will be few if any layoffs, said county spokesman Marshall Wilson.

“Once the board votes, we start to see if there are other vacancies in the county where we can place people,” said Wilson. Departments will also be offering employees incentives to retire.

The Sheriff’s Office would eliminate 22 positions, including 13 deputies, according to Wilson. The probation office would eliminate 27 positions, the District Attorney’s Office would lose seven, behavioral health and recovery 10, and family health 14.


Ups and downs

$18 million: Amount restored from March budget proposal
$129 million: Proposed cuts in 2011-12 budget
$48 million: Amount proposed to take from reserves to balance budget
208: Number of positions proposed for elimination

Source: San Mateo County

This article was corrected Tuesday, June 14, 2011. The article originally said the Family Health Services department was recommended to eliminate 80 positions. The Family Health Services department was recommended to eliminate 14 positions.