Pierce County budget for 2017 highlights public safety, courts

After months of negotiation and discussion, the Pierce County Council voted unanimously to adopt the County’s 2017 operating and capital budgets. The new budget will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

A large focus of the 2017 budget is public safety, court programs and several agency and program evaluations to be conducted by the Performance Audit Committee. In the public safety and court programs areas, funding was appropriated for:

Five additional Deputy Sheriff positions.

Matching grant monies for a position in the Prosecutor’s office for identity theft cases.

$225,000 in additional funds to the Drug Enforcement Fund to supplement drug enforcement operations and delivery of treatment programs and services.

Delivery of enhanced therapeutic court programs and services.

$110,000 in additional funds for the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center.

Safe Streets program funding for a crime prevention mobilizer position in the Key Peninsula area.

Funding to increase Sheriff’s Department marine patrols on Lake Tapps.

The Council addressed the need for several agency and programmatic evaluations in 2017 to analyze Pierce County employee classification and benefit packages, School Impact fee program, aircraft fuel service at Thun Field and hanger lease rates at Tacoma Narrows Airport, and potential countywide broadband.

Other 2017 budget highlights include:

Assistance to the Anderson Island Community Club Building renovation by $25,000.

An increase to the Real Estate and Excise Tax (REET) Capitol Improvement Fund to help fund the demolition of Puget Sound Hospital Buildings.

An additional $100,000 to the Peninsula Metropolitan Park and Key Peninsula Metropolitan Park Districts for capital projects.

An increase to the Road Fund to provide landscaping and beautification streetscaping at the southern entrance to the Midland Community.

The budget will now be sent to outgoing County Executive Pat McCarthy who has 10 days to take action on the 2017 budget. McCarthy was elected to the position of State Auditor in the November elections. Bruce Dammeier won the race for Pierce County Executive to replace her and will assume that role in January 2017.

More information on the budget is available online:  www.piercecountywa.org/budget2017

 – Pierce County