The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors finalized next year's budget Friday—the least austere to pass in 11 years, according to the board.
Described as a maintenance budget by County Executive Jeffrey Smith, the budget for the 2013 fiscal year is $4.1 billion, and combines revenue-producing measures with cuts, according to the board.
The budget includes funds for some 350 new jobs and a number of preventative social services. Smith credited cooperation from employees and labor in part for contributing to the new budget, which he described as, a "welcome respite from deficits."
He continued that the county's employee unions had conceded $75 million in 2013, according to the board. Among the programs that next year's county budget will fund are a number of social service programs.
The budget allocates $379,154 to the Social Service Agency's Senior Nutrition Program and $30,000 to the Health Partnership's Community Mammography Access Program.
The budget also creates a Child Abuse Sexual Exploitation Unit at the sheriff's office, which Board President George Shirakawa called, "an absolutely disgusting and insidious crime that is exploding."
The budget also gives $200,000 to the District Attorney's Parent Project, which will now be able to hire three full-time staff members.
According to the district attorney's office, the four-year-old program has helped about 1,500 parents learn how to better communicate and cope with their children.
According to the district attorney's office, the program's graduated parents have reported their teens are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, lie, skip school, or misbehave and more likely to succeed in school.
In the same meeting, the board also approved Molly O'Neal, a trial attorney at the Public Defender's Office as the new acting public defender.
O'Neal, 49, has worked at the Public Defender's Office since 1990, representing misdemeanor, juvenile, and felony cases. "I am extremely honored ... and intend to provide strong leadership and ensure vigorous representation for the indigent accused in this county," O'Neal said.
—Bay City News Service