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Fresno County Supervisors Pass $2 Billion Budget; Add 77 New Jobs
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors passed a $2 billion budget Thursday for fiscal year 2014-2015.
The county's budget adds 77 jobs, 40 of which are in the justice departments.
It's the first time the county's budget has swelled to $2 billion.
The budget funds the county's departments that serve nearly 1 million people.
Henry R. Perea, Dist. 3 Fresno County Supervisor, says they're focusing on rebounding from the recession.
"We're now in the rebuilding phase of government. The last five or six years have been very tough. But just in revenue alone we saw an increase of $74 million to our budget," Perea says.
This year's budget funds 12 new positions in the sheriff's office, 10 of those deputies.
"We've been able to replace deputies as they leave but adding deputies is very uplifting for me and I'm sure the deputies on the street when they hear they're going to have some help out there," says Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
She says the sheriff's office had to cut 98 deputies in 2007.
Currently, the sheriff's office has almost 400 deputies on staff--a number Mims says is not enough for the county's size.
"In the county general plan, it calls for two deputies per 1,000. Right now, we have about 0.8 deputies per 1,000," Mims says.
"There's always more need than there is money," Perea adds.
The budget also adds 17 new public defenders and 10 new correctional officers for the Juvenile Justice Center.
"We can keep that justice system moving--keeping prisoner in jail when they need to be but moving them through the system faster to the courts," Perea says.
The county's budget plans for a reserve of about $16 million.