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Slimming down 

San Luis Obispo County supervisors officially closed the books on the 2010-11 budget and on June 22 accepted next year’s spending plan—that is, before more cuts trickle down from the state budget.

The total budget came in at about $444.4 million, roughly $23 million less than the 2009-10 budget. County supervisors, administrative officials, and department heads trimmed from the General Fund to shore up a $17 million deficit.

There were about 40 positions cut, but all were vacant, which has become the cost-saving method of choice with the declining revenues of the past three years. The total county workforce going into the coming fiscal year is about 2,404. SLO County typically has a 5- to 7-percent vacancy rate, said Assistant Administrator Dan Buckshi, and county officials believe they can continue to downsize the workforce through attrition for the next two years.

County officials also built in a $14.5 million contingency in the General Fund (about 4 percent). But cuts from the state are still the storm on the horizon.

“It’s unknown at this point,” Buckshi said of cuts from the state, which likely won’t pass a budget for several months. “There are so many different versions swirling around.”

The worst-case scenario, he said, would be Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s May Revise, which would likely cut another $10 million to $20 million from SLO County, as well as completely eliminate such welfare programs as CalWORKS.

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