Alameda County is in the same spot as a lot of other local governments this year, attempting to balance its budget without much help from the state.
"Currently, we're using a Ouija board to figure this out," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty at a luncheon for business leaders at the in Pleasanton on Tuesday.
Alameda County is facing a $135 million shortfall for the 2011-12 fiscal year, with a $2.4 billion budget, he said. And with the state looking for around $15.4 billion to balance its own budget, that means more bad news for local governments, he said.
Even so, the county is trying not to touch its $2 million reserve, Haggerty said. Cuts will likely come from, among other things, public safety, health and social services — things people do not want to lose, he said. There could be many layoffs in the coming years, he said.
"The government is always last to lay off, but that has to happen at some point," he said, noting that he thinks 2012 and 2013 will be even worse.
"It's very painful."
He did say, however, that he would want to jump into the county's reserve budget if it meant saving public safety workers' jobs.
County staff will present a proposed budget to the board of supervisors June 9, and the board is expected to adopt it by June 24.