County budget finalized

10:54 am November 16th, 2012

The Pierce County Council was expected to approve a final budget this week for 2013 with special earmarks for police protection, parks and financial rainy days.
The budget was finalized, except for Tuesday’s council vote, during public hearings by the council Nov. 5-6. During those sessions, council members made several adjustments to the original budget proposed in October by County Executive Pat McCarthy. Among the changes:
• Restore four of the vacant positions McCarthy had recommended cutting in the Sheriff Department, at a cost of $400,000.
• Increase spending on parks maintenance by $180,000.
• Set aside $874,000 in fund balance to provide a cushion against any downturn in revenues next year.
The final budget, which was to be approved during an afternoon meeting at the County-City Building in Tacoma, had no cost-of-living adjustment for county employees, including elected officials.
In other personnel-related moves, the county has cut 514 positions – nearly 15 percent of its workforce – since 2008.
When she presented her budget proposals to the council, McCarthy said she was “proud of our efforts to find ways to provide services more efficiently. We will continue to make the kind of financial decisions” that led to a recent upgrade of the county’s bond rating.

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