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County budget shows slower growth rate

Bay City News
Friday June 08, 2001

OAKLAND – Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi presented a $1.8 billion proposed budget to the Board of Supervisors Thursday. While bigger than last year’s, the budget reflects a lower growth rate because of the slowing down of the economy. 

The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes an increase of $240.5 million, 15.2 percent over the budget for 2000–2001. 

The total projected expenditures include $557 million in public assistance, $445 million in public protection and $414 million in health care services, which account for 31 percent, 24 percent and 23 percent of the budget, respectively. 

The goals and objectives for the upcoming fiscal year include the completion of the construction of a critical care and clinic facility and the seismic retrofit of Highland Hospital; completion of the design and beginning of construction of the new Juvenile Hall facility in Dublin; and the construction of a parking garage at the Dublin BART station. 

Other budget priorities outlined by the administrator include the opening of a mental health unit in the Juvenile Hal, and a psychiatric emergency unit at Oakland Children’s Hospital; furthering the conversion of equipment into electronic, touch–screen voting; and the opening of the first of three emergency receiving centers for children who are removed from their homes. 

The difference between revenue and expenditures – $6.7 million – is larger than last year’s $5.8 million gap, which was the lowest in a decade. 

Muranishi proposed balancing the budget without cutting jobs by using $5.9 million from the Fiscal Management Reward Program, which is a one–time use of the last year’s unused funds.  

The use of departmental revenues is proposed to take care of the remaining $800,000 needed to close the funding gap. 

Muranishi suggested that the council continue to support legislation that provides for the return of property tax money to secure a stable discretionary revenue source for programs.  

The state took $187 million from the county this year for the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund, or  

ERAF, which brings to more than $1.2 billion what the state has taken since the fund’s implementation in 1991–1992. 

The first public hearing on the budget will be Monday, June 18. Copies of the document can be obtained at libraries in the county.