Published: 30 May 2012 05:17 PM

San Bernardino County will continue to slash away at a five-year budget deficit in its proposed spending plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year which calls for reduced employee benefits and county services.

The Board of Supervisors received the proposed budget from County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux on Tuesday, May 29. The full budget document was not publicly available but the county provided a copy of Devereaux’s 80-page executive summary. The board will hold public hearings on the plan beginning June 15.

The total proposed budget is $4.6 billion with the general fund making up $2.3 billion. Of that, the county has discretion over $446.3 million.

In his report Devereaux states that the plan will continue a five-year effort begun last year to close a cumulative budget deficit in that discretionary portion estimated at $91.5 million through 2015-2016, $33.2 million of that from the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The county’s general fund will actually increase by $54.8 million but that’s due mainly to increased state realignment funding with the state turning over oversight and incarceration of low-level criminal offenders to the county last October, increasing the responsibility of local jails and probation officers.

The total county workforce, which was cut by 768 positions last year, will grow by 107 positions, but that also is due mainly to increased sheriff’s department staff to handle realignment, according to Devereaux’s report.

Devereaux, outlined a number of steps to reduce the deficit. They include $11.9 million in department cuts, reducing employee compensation by $8.9 million plus another $5.8 million in cuts to employee health care benefits.

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