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Spending Plan in Limbo Until Lawmakers Return From Vacation : Finances: Up to $300 million of county budget package depends on revenue that may never materialize. State legislators' break leaves key questions unanswered.


Union leaders have been hesitant to say anything other than that they will negotiate with the county over the furloughs, probably as part of upcoming contract negotiations. While the budget says the furloughs would save $28 million, Reed believes the savings would be far less.

Much of the budget crafted Tuesday followed behind-the-scenes discussions in which the supervisors and their chief deputies created a pool of $94.7 million, and then began the process of parceling it out to the various departments.

One by one, motions on where to put the money were scribbled on paper, brought before the board and then approved--usually without question--before being added up on a large white tote board. Behind the supervisors, top aides hastily added up figures on an old calculator, making sure they didn't overspend the money.

In the end, the supervisors were left with a surplus of about $38 million, which they said they would set aside in the event some of the speculative funding didn't come through.


After approving $1.5 million in additional funds for the public defender's office, Supervisor Gloria Molina had to bring the motion back for another vote, saying she actually meant for the department to get $8 million. That too was approved with little if any discussion, as were Supervisor Michael Antonovich's law and order motions, including $12.8 million more for Superior Court operations and $6.1 million for Municipal Courts.

The supervisors also dispensed another $2 million for the coroner's office, $5 million to keep parks open, $4 million for libraries and $8 million for the assessor's office so that it would be eligible for $13 million in matching state funding.

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