A reduction in services and longer wait times are in store for the county of San Diego because of looming budget cuts in the next fiscal year, officials said today.
County supervisors were given a preview of the kind of cuts they can expect to be proposed in the budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which will be presented for their approval in two months.
"The news is not particularly good," Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard told the board.
San Diego County's finances have taken hits from several sides. The flailing economy has led to less-than-expected property and sales tax revenues while California budget problems have resulted in cuts to state funding. The Wall Street meltdown badly hurt the county's investment portfolio, Ekard said.
Ray Fernandez, who oversees the county's various public safety agencies, said cuts being considered include closing the Descanso Detention Facility -- which would save $10.3 million annually -- decentralizing the sheriff's SWAT team and reducing administrative staff.
Additionally, the District Attorney's Office might suspend its Cold Case Unit and assign greater caseloads to prosecutors, Fernandez said.
Since the state has pulled funding of a program to monitor the mentally ill, there will be less supervision, he said.
Fernandez said despite the proposals, the county will try to protect public safety from the bulk of its cuts.
Other managers listed proposed reductions in park hours and acquisition of new materials for libraries.
Several supervisors said they opposed "backfilling" funds that have been taken away by the state.
Ekard said the federal stimulus package will keep the cuts from being even deeper. He also warned that none of the ideas were set in concrete.
Sparks from a passing vehicle -- not an arsonist, as previously believed -- ignited a wildfire that spread over about 100 open acres this week near San Diego Zoo Safari Park, authorities reported Wednesday.
Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump's attacks on "fake news" Thursday with a coordinated series of editorials speaking up for a free and vigorous press.
Authorities identified a 12-year-old girl who was found dead in San Vicente Reservoir, five days after she fell from a boat.
San Diego County has agreed to settle a pair of lawsuits filed by twin boys who were molested by their former foster father.
San Diego police said Wednesday that no charges will be filed at this time against a man accused in the fatal shooting of a bar manager following a fight between two groups in the Gaslamp District.
Scattered thunderstorms in the mountains during the afternoon and evening hours Thursday. High pressure will move westward, moisture drying out but slightly warmer through the weekend.
Daryl Weathers remembers trying to pull men from the sea off Alaska's Aleutian Islands after a U.S. Navy destroyer hit a mine left by the Japanese following the only World War II battle fought on North American soil.
A passenger train struck and killed a pedestrian Wednesday on a stretch of tracks in the northern reaches of San Diego County.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of assaulting a traveler at San Ysidro Port of Entry last month.