Budget deliberations by the Pierce County Council will pick up speed next week as the panel hears from a number of department heads, including budget director Patrick Kenney, Parks and Recreation Director Kathy-Kravit Smith, Sheriff Paul Pastor, Public Works Director Brian Ziegler, county judges and others.
Council Chairman Roger Bush will preside over the meetings of the seven-member panel.
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy last month proposed a $760 million budget package for 2011. It includes cuts in some areas, a few unfilled jobs and layoffs, and raises for workers. But it lacks the draconian cuts made in the last couple of years.
Still, the county’s departments are being asked to conserve and consolidate where they can, McCarthy said.
Under the county charter, the executive proposes the budget but the council is responsible for refining it, if necessary, and then passing it into law.
The spotlight is on the county’s $268 million general fund because it pays for public safety items such as sheriff’s deputies, courts and criminal justice services, parks and recreation, and planning and land services.
During a marathon series of meetings, the council is scheduled to meet with department heads in the next two weeks and conduct public hearings. The council expects to adopt the budget Nov. 9.
You can read the schedule here, though it’s subject to change. And here’s a list of some of the meetings, scheduled in the 10th floor council chambers at the County-City Building.
Wednesday, Oct. 27
9 a.m.: Budget Director Patrick Kenney, who will talk about the assumptions on which the executive’s proposed budget was built as well as revenues and expenses. He’ll be followed by Planning and Land Services Director Chuck Kleeberg.
1:30 p.m. :Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Kravit-Smith followed by Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam.
Thursday, Oct. 28
9 a.m.: Sheriff Paul Pastor followed by Chief of Corrections Martha Carr.
1:30 p.m.: County judges, including Presiding Superior Court Judge Brian Chushcoff.
Friday, Oct. 29
9 a.m.: Public Works Director Brian Ziegler
Also next week, McCarthy will conduct the last in her seven-meeting Budget 101 series to help the public understand where the county gets its money and how its spent.
It’s set for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Lakewood Community Center, 9112 Lakewood Drive S.W.
Here’s a copy of the council’s news release on the council’s budget deliberations:
Council begins 2011 budget hearings
Pierce County’s elected officials and department leaders will make their 2011 budget presentations to the County Council beginning Wednesday, Oct. 27.
The county’s elected auditor, sheriff, assessor-treasurer, prosecuting attorney, and district and superior court presiding judges are all part of the council’s upcoming budget hearings schedule.
Department directors also will appear to talk about their budget requests and answer questions from the council, which is scheduled to adopt a final budget on Nov. 9.
All hearings are in the Council Chambers on the 10th floor of the County-City Building (930 Tacoma Ave. S., Room 1045) in Tacoma and are broadcast live on Pierce County TV channel 22. They also are streamed live and archived at