County adopts $317 million budget

County commissioners have adopted next year's spending plan.

They took action on the 2010 budget Friday.

The budget totaled $317 million. The general fund, which pays for basic services, totals $73.9 million, a 2.2 percent reduction from this year.

The budget calls for cutting more than 58 full-time-equivalent positions. Most of the positions are either vacant or were eliminated this year and will be formally erased in next year’s budget.

The budget also proposes increases in charges for utilities, development permits and dumping garbage at the Waste and Recovery Center, the county’s main transfer station.

The county projects that new construction will continue to decline in 2010. Local government relies on new construction to secure more property tax revenue above the 1 percent cap without having to go to voters. Sales tax revenue will be flat, the county predicts. Property and sales taxes provide the bulk of revenues to the general fund.

This year, the county cut nearly 100 full-time-equivalent positions, reduced the number of departments managed by county commissioners and cut general fund spending by $7 million to account for a precipitous drop in tax and other revenue brought on by the recession and collapse in the housing and development market.

Commissioners said the deep cuts helped make the decision-making for next year’s budget a little easier.

Two notable changes by commissioners included restoring $50,000 in funding to the Human Services Review Council, which distributes the funding to social service organizations in the community. The cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater also are on the council.

Commissioners also budgeted $143,000 for the specialized recreation program for people with disabilities. The money came from a portion of property taxes dedicated to a program to help people who have disabilities land jobs.

The adopted budget takes effect Jan. 1.