Pierce County budget emphasizes fiscal responsibility

The Pierce County Council voted unanimously last Tuesday to approve 2004 funding for county programs. The $232,593,680 general fund budget represents a 3.67 percent decrease from 2003. Despite the $28 million reduction, the council preserved funding for the following essential functions:

– Economic Development – Provides $300,000 to implement the Jobs Creation Study, improving opportunities for economic development throughout the County by removing economic barriers within county government;

– Public Safety – Includes funding for three new sheriff’s deputies for the Mountain Detachment effective July 1 and adds three new deputies to serve as community resource officers in local schools;

– Protecting the Environment – Appropriates $150,000 to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for environmental health specialists to work on the Shellfish Watershed Program and $20,000 to start wetlands mapping in the Midland area;

– Transportation – Work will continue on the proposed Cross-Base Highway (SR704) as well as several other key roadways including Canyon Road East, 94th Avenue East and 176th Street East;

– Parks and Recreation – Construction will begin on numerous projects including sites in Gig Harbor, South Hill and East Pierce County.
Council Chair Harold Moss said that despite the lower amount of money available for 2004, the council acted to maintain essential county functions.

“We will continue to do this by emphasizing fiscal accountability,” he said.

The budget emphasizes fiscal accountability by providing more frequent Council review of the Surface Water Management Program, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, the proposed development at Chambers Creek Properties and the impacts of the Regional Transportation Investment District on Pierce County.

A large number of county programs are financed from sources outside the general fund. The nature of the revenue sources mandates that these monies can be used only for specified activities. The total of these combined funds is $739,729,205 for 2004.