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Another round of Pierce County budget cuts?

Post by David Wickert on April 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm with 7 Comments »
April 26, 2010 3:47 pm

Pierce County’s financial situation remains tenuous even after the County Council approved a $4.9 million budget cut this month.

At a council budget meeting Monday, county budget director Patrick Kenney wouldn’t rule out another round of cuts later this year. Next year also looks tough, Kenney said.

“As of now, I wouldn’t recommend you do anything,” Kenney said when asked about the possibility of another budget cut this year. “But we need more data.”

It’s been a tough year for Pierce County’s budget. After a series of budget cuts last year, the council this month cut another $4.9 million from the county’s $269.3 million general fund budget. That will mean cuts to popular programs like 4-H and staff cuts in some departments.

But the county’s latest financial report shows that wasn’t enough to bridge a projected $5.6 million the gap between budgeted spending and shrinking county revenue.

Kenney said it’s too soon to know whether more cuts will be needed. He said several factors will determine whether the council should trim spending again. Among them:

• The extent to which property taxes are paid on time. Taxes for the first half of the year are due Friday.

• The level of taxable sales activity in the county.

• Whether some federal economic stimulus program grants are extended.

• Planning and building permit activity.

Kenney said the county should know whether another round of cuts is needed by early July.

Meanwhile, planning already is beginning for next year’s budget. Because of a scheduled 2.5 percent raise for employees, an expected jump in pension costs, rising health insurance costs and general inflation, Kenney said it would take a 3.4 percent increase in spending just to maintain current county programs and services next year.

Department heads will begin preparing preliminary budgets with that figure in mind. But Kenney said there’s “absolutely no guarantee that when we get down to it we can afford that.

“We have no guarantee that our revenue will grow 3.4 percent,” he told the council.

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. jiminycricket says:

    For starters, the county could save approximately $160k if they closed down county polling venues. Pierce County is the only county in the state that doesn’t vote by mail. Secondly, I think that a wage freeze should immediately take affect on every county employee. I’m sure that there are other areas where cuts can be made. Bottomline, everything should be on the table for discussion! The only exception should be anything affecting the public safety!

  2. If the public wants to affect real change in Pierce County Government they will delay property tax payments. It is an option not to pay your property taxes for up to 3 years….

  3. rukiddingmereally says:

    That’s a great idea yid. At the expense of the taxpayers. State law is State Law, not county rules. And the state law is as follows: Don’t pay at least 1/2 of your property taxes, and on May 1 is the beginning of 1% per month (added the first of every month) interest on the TOTAL balance of the bill. On June 1 is a 3% penalty. On Dec. 1 is an 8% penalty. 1% INTEREST is added every month that you do not pay, That is 12% interest per year AND a 11% penalty per year on the balance due. I’ll let you do the rest of the math. Now you add all that up after 3 years and guess what, now you’re in foreclosure for non-payment of your property taxes. Try digging yourself out of that hole. Jeez, the way some people think. It is not an OPTION to not pay, but hey, if it makes YOU feel better, you run with it yid.

  4. lightrailnow says:

    Although not always in agreement on the way to reach a given goal; The Executive, and the County Council will consider those things that are effective and viable possibilities. As each were elected to do; they will continue to look out for the well being and the interest of the County as a whole including County employees despite comments such as the one provided by “yid”. If any elected official does not act with the best interest of the County in mind it is our duty as citizens to unite, search for, support, and elect leaders that through their actions demonstrate our collective desired vision for the County.

  5. mattersnot1 says:

    Actually jiminycricket, it cost more to operate a mail balloting than voting at the polls. Voting at the polls also provides faster and more accurate results.

  6. As long as they do not come to me for the money. If they need to cut programs do it. I am not getting a 2.5% cost of living increase this year and I have no more money.
    Obama said one of the reasons GM and Chrysler were driven to bankrupcy was because of the legacy cost (pensions) from the unions. Time to change the pension programs of government workers.

  7. nonstopjoe says:

    There’s always sewer fund money that can be used – unless Chambers Bay Golf Course (for non-resident hi-rollers) doesn’t get it first.

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