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Pierce council cuts spending, hoards cash for 2010

Post by David Wickert on Nov. 10, 2009 at 9:42 am |
November 10, 2009 5:25 pm

The Pierce County Council cut an additional $2.9 million from its proposed 2010 general fund budget late Monday.

The big loser: planning and land services, which will take a $1.9 million hit.

Director Chuck Kleeberg told the council he’ll have to eliminate 25 positions because of budget cuts.

Reduced staffing will mean long lines for building permits when the economy recovers, Kleeberg said.

Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps, said the job cuts are painful. But he said it’s the council’s job to balance the budget.

“We believe that, while dramatic, these cuts are achievable,” Bunney said.

The council also socked another $1.5 million into savings as it anticipates further budget trouble next year. Overall, the council’s proposed general fund budget is about $269 million – about $1.4 million smaller than the one proposed by County Executive Pat McCarthy in September.

“This is probably the hardest budget I’ve had to vote on in the five years I’ve been here,” said Councilman Tim Farrell, D-Tacoma. “There’s just no money to go a lot of things I care about.”

The council will finalize the budget at 3 p.m. today in room 1045 of the County-City Building, 930 Tacoma Ave. S.

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