Fresno County Budget Cuts

September 23, 2008 6:19:22 PM PDT
Fresno County Board of Supervisors are having to cut more programs to meet a shrinking budget. Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan said with all budget reductions she has 30 fewer positions. Recently the board of supervisors ordered a $6-million budget cut that was spread among all departments. On Tuesday, The DA and health department officials detailed what must go.Egan warned the board of supervisors: voters are closely watching them. Egan said, "The district attorneys office has been severely cut over the past two years. The consequences are and will continue to be increased danger to your constituents." Egan says the cuts are already impacting the court room. She planned to layoff 8 staff members eliminating the child abduction unit and an attorney overseeing drug offenders. Melissa Reece is an upset parent who told the board the DA dismissed her child support case because of budget shortfalls. Reece, "To be called three hours later and told that my child doesn't matter. And there will be no trial, no conviction...no justice."

The health department's budget must be reduced by $2-million. At one point, field nurses faced elimination. They respond to emergencies like in 2007 when a meningitis outbreak occurred at El Capitan Middle School. Health department officials found money to save the program. But Downtown Fresno's Specialty Clinic faces closure. One of the clinic's users says the clinic is the only place many people find help fighting sexually transmitted diseases. Patrick Farris said, "It's ok if something is wrong. It's not a problem to get tested. They have people to consul you and to help you to understand and get past the diseases."

Some supervisors are still hopeful they can find money to save the DA from eliminating more positions. In two weeks, the board is expected to make a final decision about what the health department must cut.

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