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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | COUNTYWIDE

Preliminary Budget Approved by Board

June 10, 1998|MIGUEL BUSTILLO

Praising county officials for presenting a balanced budget for the first time this decade, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary budget for the coming fiscal year.

The $918-million spending plan, which will be the subject of numerous study sessions and hearings before a final version is approved next month, is the first county budget in years that will not require cuts in staffing or services.

"The improved state and federal economy has helped," said Chief Administrative Officer Lin Koester.

Supervisor Frank Schillo lauded county officials for presenting a "realistic" spending plan without complaining about the woes of county finances.

Supervisor Judy Mikels also praised budget officials for looking to rebuild their reserves from $18 million to $23 million as part of the spending plan, noting that bond officials in New York were concerned about the county's lack of emergency funds.

"We can't be too Pollyannish," Mikels said. "But I think it's critical that we rebuild our reserves."

The board is scheduled to begin final budget discussions June 29.

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