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Mecklenburg hit with $17.4 million in immediate budget cuts

Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones on Friday ordered $17.4 million in immediate cuts to several agencies and services to help fill a projected $57.1 milion shortfall in the current budget. The county also has a projected deficit of $70 million for next fiscal year. No employees are losing their jobs, but the cuts are wide-ranging. The cutbacks include $3.3 million to the sheriff's department, $2.5 million for mental health services and $2.4 million in social services cuts such as Child Protective Services, Much of the sheriff's department's savings will come from delaying the opening of a junvenile detention center until next year, and postpone the hiring of 56 detention officers. The sheriff's department also must close the Gatling juvenile facility on March 1st. The facility can hold up to 30 juveniles, but is currently housing only 12, according to a Mecklenburg County news release. "We will continue to look for ways to cut expenses, while at the same time hoping we see some positive impact on revenues from the federal stimulus package," Jones said in a prepared statement. - Mecklenburg County news release - List, description of budget cuts