A county program that transports senior citizens to medical appointments will end July 1 as part of a fresh round of budget cuts.
The Board of Supervisors announced today that belt-tightening and will occur in several departments, including transportation, environmental services and in the Supervisors' own offices. Job vacancies will go unfilled and new "operating efficiences" will take root. Plus, another $282,000 will come out of the county's general budget. All told, the new cuts total about $500,000.
The worst part: Seniors taking advantage of the county's special transportation services department will have to find other means to get to their doctor's appointments, dialysis treatment or adult day care center.
Most people will probably find a ride, presumably. The ones who can't -- there's always 911.
More budget cuts at Maricopa County adopted
April 13, 2009
Maricopa County's budget axe fell again today, slicing more than $500,000 from agencies providing assistance to seniors and the homeless while trimming budgets of a host of other departments.
The board of supervisors also adopted spending reductions in transportation, environmental services, the county superintendent of schools, planning and development - even the supervisors' own office budgets.
Most of the spending cuts have been achieved by eliminating vacant positions, reducing administration and creating "operating efficiencies." But service cuts and layoffs in some departments are inevitable.
"No one is immune from these cuts, including the board of supervisors," commented Max Wilson, chairman of the board. "We are determined that this downturn can be met only by sharing the burden among a lot of departments. And that is being accomplished"
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The county's elected constables and justice courts generally escaped the most severe budget cuts. Two new precincts were established during the fiscal year and revenues from fines continue to rise, allowing for small spending increases for the constables and justices of the peace.
Social services were not so lucky. They are funded by a mix of federal, state and local resources. The county's special transportation services agency currently transports elderly, disabled and low-income to medical appointments, dialysis and adult day care. But Monday's general fund cuts of $282,000, along with other revenue losses, will effectively end the program July 1, according to Trish Georgeff, county human services director.
According to Deputy Budget Director LeeAnn Bohn, Maricopa County departments have adopted reductions of an average 17.7 percent during the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1.
Only a half dozen county agency budgets remain to be approved prior to the final budget adoptions set for late May and June. Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson said meetings are being held with those departments now.