RIVERHEAD - The Suffolk County Legislature today approved a scaled-back plan to lay off hundreds of county workers in an effort to save the cash-strapped county some money.A total of 315 county workers will lose their jobs. The county's Health Services Department is expected to bear the brunt of the cuts, with an estimated 123 workers slated for layoffs by month's end. Another 71 would be cut from the Department of Public Works.

Five Republican legislators voted against the layoffs, arguing that union members should have had more time to come up with concessions that may have offset some payroll costs. But the 12 Democrats who voted in favor of the proposal said the county is broke and simply could not wait any longer.As News 12 Long Island has reported, Suffolk could be faced with a projected $500 million budget gap by the end of 2013, barring major changes. Democratic lawmakers said that with every payroll period that passed by, the county would have been another $2.5 million in debt. County union leaders say they're disappointed and are working on proposals that could save the county money without cutting jobs.

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