Thurston County looks to chop budget by $6 million

lpemberton@theolympian.comNovember 15, 2013 

The Thurston County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on the 2014 preliminary operating budget during its 10 a.m. meeting Friday.

Officials are looking for ways to slash almost $6 million from the county’s budget in an effort to help beef up a reserve fund. The county’s expenditures have outpaced revenue for several years due to the sluggish economy.

The final package was still being finalized Thursday afternoon; however, it included the 2014 opening of the Accountability and Restitution Center, according to county manager Cliff Moore. Both Sheriff John Snaza and Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim had urged commissioners to delay the opening the new jail to save money and help avoid cuts for the county’s law and justice programs.

The county is made up of 77 funds, including ones that are dedicated to special projects such as roads or public health.

According to documents released before the county’s public budget hearing Oct. 29, officials were recommending preliminary general fund expenditures at $90.5 million, down about 2 percent from 2013. All together, the proposed expenditures for 2014 were $290.8 million, down from $316.6 million in 2013.

The county commissioners met with elected officials and department directors, took public input and spent several days in deliberations so the final budget will likely look a little different than the first draft.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be in the Thurston County Courthouse Building 1, Room 269, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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