Staff cuts, new fees balance Tacoma city budget

Tacoma City Council adopted a biennial budget Tuesday that calls for employee layoffs, cuts to services, and some new fees in order to close a $63 million shortfall.

The $397 million 2013-2014 budget calls for eliminating 217 positions (approximately 70 employees will be laid off, 100 employees will retire, and 50 vacant positions will disappear), closing a fire station near the Port of Tacoma, scaling back the operating hours at Tacoma Public Library’s main branch, and reducing services provided by Public Works. Councilmembers also introduced a $20 fee for vehicle license tabs and eliminated a business tax break for nonprofit hospitals in order to generate $9.5 million in new revenue. Departments facing the biggest cuts include Public Works ($104 million), Fire ($11 million), Police ($7 million), and Library ($3 million).

Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax held a series of community budget input meetings this summer and fall, and collected comments online.

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