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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 3, 2015
Contact:
Cathy Wolfe, Thurston County Commission Chair, 360-786-5440
Cliff Moore, Thurston County Manager, 360-786-5440

Public Hearing Sessions set for 2016 Thurston County Budget
Public invited to take advantage of several hearing opportunities

OLYMPIA -The public has several chances December 7 and 8 to ask questions and give testimony on Thurston County's proposed 2016 budget.

The county's overall preliminary budget for 2016 is $330-million with a General Fund budget of $93-million. The good news is that there has been modest growth in sales tax revenue from this time last year and new construction value is also up a bit. However, the cost of providing programs and services continues to outpace revenue.

Requests for additional funds from the various offices and departments of county government completely outstrip any increased funding. County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe says the deliberations on the 2016 budget have been very difficult. "County elected officials and department directors have done a very good job holding the line on spending. They very much deserve additional funding but we just don't have it. We need to maintain a healthy budget reserve and with inflation eating up any revenue increases, we just cannot afford most of their requests for additional funds."

The public hearing is a bit different this time around according to County Manager Cliff Moore. "We are holding several sessions over two days, all in Room 280 at the Thurston County Courthouse. Those who are interested can attend a session involving environmental programs for example and ask questions of county officials and make comments. They can attend any or all of the sessions. They can also visit the budget pages on the county web site and use the new OpenGov budget tool to get an overview or drill down into specific details of the proposed 2016 budget."

The schedule for the budget hearing sessions is-

December 7:

1:30pm- Law and Justice including Courts, Clerk, Sheriff's Office, Office of Assigned Counsel, Prosecuting Attorney
4:00pm- General Government including Auditor, Assessor, Commissioners Office, Coroner, Treasurer
6:00pm- General questions and comments on the budget

December 8:

1:30pm -Transportation, environment and land use budget hearing with representatives of the resource stewardship and public works departments.
4pm- Health and human services budget hearing will highlight the coroner, public health and social services, and emergency services representatives.
6:00pm- General questions and comments on the budget

Again, Thurston County's entire proposed 2016 budget can be viewed on-line at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/bocc/budget/ Questions can also be asked by email to Budget and Fiscal Manager Robin Campbell at campber@co.thurston.wa.us or by phone at 360-709-3063.



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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3