10:00 PM PDT on Monday, June 28, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved a $3.8 billion budget Monday that calls for deep cuts in almost all departments, including layoffs in the probation, public defender and planning offices.

The spending plan for the 2010-11 fiscal year eliminates 529 positions, 85 of which are filled. The general fund, which makes up $2.2 billion of the budget, is down $89 million from the previous year while funds allocated to specific programs are up $191 million, County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux said.

The county faced an $89.4 million shortfall due to the decline in sales and property taxes, which it filled in part by asking employees to give up raises that were supposed to kick in this year.

The San Bernardino County Public Employees Association, which represents 16,000 employees, agreed to give up its 6 percent raise but most of the 3,100 members of the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association rejected a similar deal to give up their 7 percent raise.

As a result, the Sheriff’s Department will have to find another $12 million in its budget to pay the salaries. Although county officials discussed possible layoffs, Sheriff Rod Hoops is proposing to cut overtime, adjust deputy schedules and curtail spending on vehicles and supplies instead.

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