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Pierce County faces $6 million budget hole

Post by David Wickert on March 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm with 16 Comments »
March 9, 2010 4:00 pm

Pierce County faces a $6 million budget hole as the worst recession in decades continues to take a toll on county revenue.

County Executive Pat McCarthy has directed most general fund departments to cut spending 1 percent to partially fill the budget gap. The county also might rely on fund balances and other savings to balance the budget.

But bigger spending cuts may be needed.

“The sooner you do it, the less dramatic it has to be,” budget director Pat Kenney told the County Council at a study session this afternoon.

It’s the latest bad budget news for a county that has seen plenty in the last year.

In 2009 the county endured several rounds of budget cuts. Most recently, the council in November approved a $793 million 2010 budget that cut more than 300 jobs, raised fees and eliminated services at 16 parks.

This year’s budget is already 7 percent smaller than the original 2009 spending plan. Now it likely will be reduced further.

In a memo to department heads and elected officials last week, Kenney directed most general fund departments to cut 1 percent from their budgets. The general fund covers basic county services like law enforcement, courts, and elections.

The sheriff’s department – a top priority for elected officials – has not been asked to cut its budget. But McCarthy told the council that may change as the county’s financial situation becomes clearer.

As in the past, declining revenue is driving the cuts. Sales tax receipts have fallen as consumers spend less. Permit fee income has declined as a building slump continues. Cash-strapped local cities are paying the county less to provide law enforcement services.

There are some signs county revenue might rebound. McCarthy told the council that sales tax receipts rose in February.

“The bad news is, the trend is, we’re still behind,” she said.

It may be another month before the county finalizes the latest budget cuts. The council – which wants to put its own stamp on any cuts – is scheduled to consider a revised budget on April 6.

Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. And that $2M loan to cover losses of the golf course is part of this?

  2. Hopefully our career social workers…I mean politicians that run our city government does not pay attention to Lisa Brown or Gov. Skeletor for answers!

  3. TacomaTaxpayer98409 says:

    Wait to you see the County Council appropriate more money to build a clubhouse at Chambers Bay….

    I wonder if there will be an exclusive “members only” cigar smoking lounge for Ladenburg, Phelps, et all? Haven’t heard anything about the El Gaucho lately. I wonder if Phelps is still a partner in that business?

  4. TacomaTaxpayer98409 says:

    Anyone at the News Tribune been checking with City of Tacoma to see where they stand in these rough times? Been awfully quiet there.

    If we are doing so good in the City, perhaps we should get King Eric and his court to take over running the state.

  5. BecauseICARE says:

    Maybe the council could cut their admin staff that make a whopping 75,000 a year!!!! People will work part time for less!!

  6. You got yourselves into this mess Patty, and had no foresight whatsoever that the market would crash – your fault for being so inexperienced and shallow !

    Start by getting rid of your Pool Boy (Phelps), his six figure income, and do your own work !

    Don’t cut Public Safety Patty. Contrary to what your Stooges tell you, the crime rate is going way up – DUH !

    And we all know that you will continue to pi$$ OUR MONEY down the toilet on Ladenburg Links because, its going to make so-much-money !

  7. Whatever1214 says:

    Actually the headline should read, “Pierce County spends $6 million dollars too much”.

  8. Reagan was right. Government can’t even do government well. We shall all soon be living in Washifornia.

  9. bigmeatgrinder says:

    Is that budget hole about the size of the one between Pat’s front teeth? Or does she have another budget hole hidden somewhere else……….oh never mind…..guess we all have to live with the budget hole we elected….

  10. bigmeatgrinder says:

    I never would have guessed the size of McCarthy’s Budget Hole! Thank you Mr. Wickert for that fine reporting!

  11. tacomajoe says:

    Maybe Ladenburg can bring the Super Bowl to Tacoma. That will put some sales tax in the coffers.

  12. northwestrealtor says:

    Sounds like it’s just about time to develop and build another golf course. Or maybe University Place could be the future site of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

  13. nonfacter says:

    I am so smart that I could make the budget balance in my sleep. I went to a conference once.

  14. nonfacter says:

    I am so smart I could balance the budget in my sleep. I went to a conference once.

  15. JLadenburg says:

    This is the County General Fund. There is no money for Chambers in this fund, nor has there ever been. Chambers is in the Public Works fund and all expenses and loans are within that fund, which does not and cannot by law affect this fund. The only impact of Chambers Bay is to raise several million in new taxes, some of which goes into this General Fund, so in fact, it works to make this fund more stable.

  16. BecauseICARE says:

    Im not surprised that Pat had a minion issue her decree. The County Council already proposed a 1%-3% Strategic cut in all departments. This cat-and-mouse game the executive keeps trying to play is ridiculous, and she is dangerously close to having the board flipped.

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