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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Contact:
Don Krupp, Thurston County Manager, (360) 786-5440

County Wraps Up Briefings on 2013 Budget Friday


Thurston County Commissioners are wrapping up the briefings phase of the 2013 budget process and are happy that it appears no major layoffs or service reductions will be needed. Likewise however, there will not be any major increases in spending for next year. Tight economic times mean commissioners will be able to fill only a fraction of the millions of dollars in additional requests that have come in from county offices and departments during the briefings.

The next major phase of the budget process comes in the form of a hearing on Tuesday, December 4 when commissioners will take comment from the public on the $291.4 million budget proposal for 2013.

"We've heard a lot of good information from elected officials and department staff over the last few weeks, and there are a lot of details for commissioners to consider as we move closer to a final decision on next year's budget," said Thurston County Budget and Fiscal Manager Robin Campbell.

Campbell calls the preliminary budget proposal of $291.4 million a hold-the-line budget that maintains the county's current program levels without the painful budget cuts of the past several years. The slow and tepid economic recovery continues to limit revenue growth, leaving commissioners little room for new spending.

"The good news here is that we're not facing layoffs or big cutbacks and that we've positioned ourselves well to weather the economic storm," said Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe. "But that doesn't mean our decisions will be easy. We have to think well beyond the next 12 months because there's still a lot of uncertainty about the economy."

The $291.4 million proposed budget for 2013 is slightly lower than the 2012 budget of $318.8 million. The proposed General Fund budget for 2013 is just under $87.6 million, up only $55,000 from 2012, or an increase of less than one percent. Nearly 17 percent of General Fund revenue comes from sales tax, which has decreased dramatically since the economy first faltered in 2008.

After the final budget presentations and discussions conclude on Friday, November 16, the next public step will be the hearing in Building One, Room 280 at 5:30 p.m. on December 4. Between now and the hearing, Thurston County residents are encouraged to submit their comments to:

Board of County Commissioners
Thurston County Courthouse
2000 Lakeridge Drive S.W.
Olympia, WA 98502

Comments may also be sent by e-mail to: tcbocc@co.thurston.wa.us.

Budget materials are available online at www.co.thurston.wa.us.


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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3