Wayne County commissioners last week approved a $2.24 billion 2009 budget after months of protracted negotiations over how to eliminate a $34 million shortfall.

The new budget implements 10% across-the-board cuts to all county departments. Proposed layoffs at the sheriff’s office generated the most controversy and sparked debate with the county sheriff, who said he would be forced to close a local jail. The final budget cuts 122 deputy sheriff positions, less than the original proposal.

Earlier this week, Wayne County Circuit Chief Judge William J. Giovan said he plans to file a lawsuit challenging the cuts this week. The court’s budget lost financing for 282 positions, cutting staff to 549 from 831.

The county’s fiscal year begins today.

Also last week, in neighboring Macomb County, commissioners approved a series of cuts — including eliminating its parks department entirely — to reduce a projected $30 million deficit heading into 2009. The deficit is due in part to an expected 5% decline in property tax values. Macomb commissioners also cut 23 positions.

Meanwhile, Oakland County, also located in the Detroit metropolitan area, recently balanced its $784 million budget in part by dipping into its rainy-day fund.

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