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Exec orders 1 percent cut to Pierce County budget

Post by David Wickert on March 9, 2010 at 8:00 am |
March 9, 2010 3:16 pm

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has ordered a 1 percent across-the-board spending cut as the worst recession in decades continues to take a toll on county revenue.

McCarthy’s budget director, Pat Kenney, ordered the cut in general fund departments in a memo to department heads and elected officials Thursday. Kenney said “the impact of the recession upon our revenues (development activity, sales tax, police service contracts, etc.) is still quite negative.”

The move follows a series or spending cuts in 2009. And McCarthy isn’t ruling out more cuts later this year.

You can download a PDF copy of Kenney’s memo here.

McCarthy is expected to discuss the budget with the County Council at a study session at noon today. Chances are, she’ll get a cool reception.

In the 2010 budget it approved in November, the council asked McCarthy to report back in January on how she would cut spending an additional 1 percent and 3 percent, if needed.

McCarthy has not complied with that request. Council members have noticed.

Council Chairman Roger Bush, R-Graham, forwarded Kenny’s memo to fellow council members with the following observation:

“As you can see, it contains language that conflicts with council budget provisos that asked the executive for budget-reduction options of 1 percent and 3 percent. Instead, it mandates a 1 percent across-the-board cut.”

Bush added: “It appears that our concerns over the delegation of policy-setting authority in this county … are valid.”

McCarthy and the council have been sparring for more than a year over budget and other priorities, with each side suggesting the other is overstepping its authority.

Should be an interesting study session.

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