OLYMPIA -- Thurston County Commissioners have been presented with the draft 2006 budget. The preliminary budget for next year is set at $356.5 million in total. The General fund budget for 2006 is $68 million with a forecasted reserve at the end of the year of $5.3 million.
Thurston County Chief Administrative Officer Don Krupp says this is another hold-the-line spending plan. "Because of limits on revenue we have very little margin to work with in putting together the 2006 budget. We are not looking at any cuts but neither are we looking at any major expansion." Krupp says the budget is buoyed a bit by new home construction but it also has more pressures. "Since 2000, we have seen 17,000 new Thurston County residents; the size of a small town. While that has brought in new revenue, it has also brought in higher demand for services. When you couple that with increased costs because of inflation, health care and other financial obligations, the county budget will not be able to address unmet needs."
Krupp says he does not foresee any need for layoffs in 2006. "After revenue limiting citizen initiatives took effect in 2002, County Commissioners, elected officials and department directors worked together to cut $3.6 million from the 2003 budget. Those decisions have allowed us to continue to provide consistent services and programs for the public. That should continue in 2006. However, we may have to look at layoffs or program cuts in future years unless something elemental is changed in the county's revenue picture.
A public hearing on the 2006 budget will be held at 6:15 PM the evening of December 5th in room 280 of Building One of the Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia.
County Commissioners will deliberate on the budget December 6th through the 9th and adoption is scheduled for Monday morning, December 19th.
Those interested can review budget information on the Thurston County website at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/index.asp The draft 2006 budget can be obtained by contacting the Thurston County Commissioner's office at 360-786-5440. Comments can be directed to Budget Director John Bartz at email@example.com