County passes 2006 budget

The Pierce County Council passed the county’s 2006 budget Tuesday, Nov. 22 with an emphasis on public safety, economic development, and increased efficiency through performance audits.

“This budget continues the Council’s commitment to public safety and economic development,” said Council Chair Shawn Bunney “We are pleased that we were able to do so within existing revenues.”

Budget highlights include the following:

– Additional five neighborhood patrol deputies for a total of 11, which will enhance public safety by dedicating officers to proactively work with neighborhoods on crime prevention matters;

– Continued funding for an additional housing unit in the jail, opening up more than 80 beds;

– Continued mid-2005 funding for a Superior Court judge and staff and adds a court commissioner and staff in the second half of 2006 to help reduce the backlog in the courts;

– Allocation of $1 million in reserve and additional staffing for the Department of Emergency Management to address a possible pandemic outbreak of avian flu;

– Funding for additional staff in the Planning and Land Services Department and Economic Development Division to decrease processing times.

Additionally, the Council established objective performance measures for the Planning Department in order to achieve 20-minute customer wait times.