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Board of Supervisors Approves $780 Million County Budget

$4 million in cuts restored to law enforcement departments; 146 full-time jobs to be dropped

Facing a deficit of nearly $19 million and fearful of a state play for funds that could cause even more pain, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Friday adopted a revised $780 million budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year that begins July 1.

To make up for the steep shortfall, the board had ordered 10 percent spending cuts in all county departments. On Friday, however, the supervisors restored more than $4 million to various departments, including the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the County Counsel’s Office and the Probation Department.

As part of the budget tightening, 146 full-time positions will be eliminated, officials said.

The county has a reserve of just $18 million, which is cause for concern as anxious officials keep watch on Sacramento. California is grappling with a persistent $25 billion deficit as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders negotiate a budget that must be enacted by the end of June — although rarely is.

Schwarzenegger reportedly said Friday that he would scrap plans to raid local governments for $1.9 billion if legislators came up with other cuts to bridge the budget gap. Still, any cuts will trickle down to the cash-strapped county, which likely will absorb them through similar cuts.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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