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County spending plan adds new fire stations

Posted: April 22, 2008 2:16 a.m.
Updated: June 23, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
Despite a severe drop in expected property tax revenue and a bare-bones budget, Santa Clarita Valley is slated to get new fire stations and a new barracks at the Pitchess Detention Center within the year.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is today expected to approve an "under-budget" budget for the "challenging year" ahead with a 2.61 percent cutback in spending.

On Monday, Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka unveiled a $21.9 billion budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year that calls for less spending but no layoffs or cuts to major programs.

County supervisors, in a news release explaining the "conservative" budget, blame a downturn in the economy and lower tax revenue for the cautionary spending.

In the release, Fujioka said: "The resale housing market presents the biggest risk to the county ... because it might negatively impact property taxes, the county's most important source of revenue."

Property taxes account for about 22 percent of the overall revenue and about 62 percent of the locally generated revenue.

Less money coming in at the county offices means less money going out to each of the five county supervisorial districts.

The Santa Clarita Valley is one of the areas to receive a boost from the county.

Despite tighter purse strings, $1.5 billion of the budget will go to building new fire stations throughout the county - specifically, in Santa Clarita where last year's wildfires destroyed more than two dozen homes - new jails, health facilities, animal shelters and libraries.

If the board approves the budget in its present form today, east Antelope Valley will get a brand-new animal shelter this year.

Also included in the same $1.5 billion for infrastructure is a mental health urgent care center in Lancaster at the Olive View Medical Center.

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