Pierce County Council approves 2009 budget

The core functions of Pierce County government will stay largely intact in a 2009 budget that reflects the current economic...

The core functions of Pierce County government will stay largely intact in a 2009 budget that reflects the current economic downturn.

The County Council unanimously approved its version of the $854.5 million plan Nov. 25. It preserves the County Executive’s 71 proposed staff reductions and makes other program cuts in response to sharp decreases in anticipated tax and fee revenues.

The 2009 budget was balanced with the help of $8 million in reductions that were made to the 2008 budget earlier this year, and staffing in the Planning and Land Services Department also was reduced. The remainder was made up by using $3.4 million of general-fund balance — the county’s savings account — which the executive also recommended.

Approximately $25 million will remain in fund balance in 2009, which is 8.7 percent of the $289.3 million general fund. County policy is to maintain at least 5 percent in fund balance for emergencies.

The budget also creates a traffic-safety enforcement program that would place automated cameras at up to six major intersections in Pierce County to identify red-light runners; asks the county auditor and assessor-treasurer to make quarterly reports to the council, since there will be new occupants in those positions in 2009; and allocates $10,000 to the United Way’s early learning program.

Visit the council’s budget Web page at http://www.piercecountywa.gov/pc/abtus/ourorg/council/budget_2009.htm for more information.

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