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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Contact:
Dotty Tryk, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, 360-709-3063

Citizen Priorities for Thurston County Government Report Done


OLYMPIA -- Thurston County Commissioners have received the final report of a study of Citizen Priorities for Thurston County Government.   The study was done in conjunction with the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center of Washington State University (WSU).  Also involved was a citizen Leadership Committee made up of six county residents.

The purpose of the study was to gain perspective on what programs and services Thurston County residents see as important to preserve.  Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Dotty Tryk says the results of the study, which included a telephone survey of 603 randomly selected households, will be important to county government for 2006 and beyond.  "The county is facing some difficult decisions in upcoming budgets because revenue cannot keep pace with increasing costs and rising demand for services.  That's why it's so important for us to know which programs of county government are a priority for citizens."

 Thurston County Commission Chairman Diane Oberquell says commissioners are grateful for all of the work that went into the study.  "We want to especially thank the hundreds of people who took the time to respond to the telephone survey and the citizens who attended the three community forums.  We need a broad range of input to help us meet the challenge of balancing our limited financial resources with demand for the services we provide across Thurston County."

Results of the survey show that citizens feel all services currently provided by county government are "somewhat important" or "very important".  In fact, about 60% of the respondents said they would pay more for some county services, although what those services might be was not specified.  However, when respondents were forced to make a choice ("Rank your top three and your bottom three.") some differences did come out.  Among the top rated were Law Enforcement, Emergency Services and Roads.  Among the lowest rated were Parks, Job Training and Stormwater/Surface Water.

Leadership Committee member Linda Buckner says the study process was a good one.  "Committee members were pleased to be asked to help out.  I think it has been very worthwhile to try a new way to get the opinions of people who would probably not comment on county priorities under the typical budget process."  

To view the Priorities of Government report in it's entirety, or to read an executive summary, people can visit the county web site at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/citizen-priorities/index.htm

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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3