Pledging to make significant investments to make Pierce County communities safer, Executive Bruce Dammeier today presented to the County Council his first annual budget since taking office in January 2017.
“The budget we have developed has three primary objectives,” said Dammeier. “We intend to create vibrant communities where people feel safe and have access to behavioral health; foster an entrepreneurial climate that expands family-wage jobs in Pierce County; and operate an effective government. And, we must do so in a fiscally responsible manner, so we can deliver essential services for our citizens, now and into the future.”
The proposed 2018 budget includes:
- The addition of 1 Sergeant, 2 Sheriff deputies, 2 Corrections Bureau escorts;
- 3 new positions in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office and 4.5 positions in the judiciary;
- $4.4 million dedicated to public/private partnerships expanding crisis response and diversion programs for those in need of mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment;
- $14.8 million to address homelessness in partnership with social service, nonprofit and other government organizations, while promoting regional solutions;
- $6.3 million for County-City Building deferred maintenance and reconfiguration;
- Funding for a new Homeless Empowerment Labor Program (HELP) for day labor opportunities; and
- Expansions of the Foothills Trail and Cross Park recreation sites
The proposed budget also includes paying down $4 million in outstanding interfund loans related to the County’s airports and Chambers Bay golf course. “By paying off these outstanding interfund loans today, we will be better positioned to address our residents’ needs in the future,” said Dammeier.
The Executive also intends to sell approximately $5 million in County-owned property already deemed to be surplus by the County Council.
“We must be excellent stewards of the resources our taxpayers have given us. They expect us to use our resources with the same smart and sound budgeting practices they use at home. That’s why we are paying off some outstanding loans and also ensuring our financial reserves are stronger, in case of a significant emergency or economic downturn.”
The proposed budget maintains a 15 percent unassigned General Fund reserve, which provides cash flow without disrupting critical services and maintains the county’s bond rating.
The General Fund budget for 2018 totals $327.35 million. This is $24.9 million, or 8.3 percent, above the 2017 level, and reflects the additional investments in public safety. The total County budget for all funds for 2018 is just over $1 billion.
The full 2018 budget is available at the County website and is subject to a comprehensive review process by the County Council and the Committee of the Whole over the next several weeks.
Libby Catalinich, Pierce County Communications Director