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Suffolk County Officials Eye Plans To Close Projected $530 Million Budget Gap

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Suffolk County officials are considering plans to close a growing budget deficit.

County Executive Steve Bellone has said the books for 2011 are likely to close with a $33 million deficit. The 2012 budget gap estimate is $148 million and grows to $349 million in 2013.

1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reports


Bellone announced Monday the first phase of his battle plan to reduce the red ink.

"These measures address over $160 million of our deficit," Bellone said. "This gets us nearly a third of the way there."

His proposal includes spreading out the rising cost of pension benefits over 10 years. That could save more than $66 million.

Other elements of the plan include some $25 million in savings over two years by freezing some non-mandated spending and $16 million by creating a traffic violations bureau.

Bellone's plan also includes increases in fees, cuts in programs and more borrowing.

No additional layoffs have been announced, although 600 layoffs already in the pipeline will go through.

WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reports


Last month, Moody's Investors Service reduced the county's bond rating from Aa2 (double-A 2) to A1. The rating is still considered above average but indicates there could be another downgrade in the future.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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