OLYMPIA - The Thurston County Board of Commissioners today adopted a budget for 2014 of $296 million, which is approximately 7% less than the 2013 spending plan. The budget reflects reductions in most areas of county government while still committing significant resources to ensure that citizens are safe and secure in their homes and community; that food is safe and drinking water is clean; that roads are safe, and that careful attention is given to meeting environmental regulations.-30-
The budget anticipates moving into the Accountability and Restitution Center in 2014; continuing work on "Thurston Thrives", the county vision for community health; supporting rural economic development; collaborating with neighbor jurisdictions in implementing recommendations from the Urban Corridors task force; and developing a Habitat Conservation Plan to ensure the county is responsive to the federal Endangered Species Act.
Even with the modest economic recovery, county revenues, primarily property and sales taxes, are not growing as fast as inflation. As a result, reductions to the budget were required to help ensure long-term fiscal sustainability for county government.
County Commission Chair Sandra Romero says the situation has lead to some very difficult choices. "There is not a part of county government that does not need additional resources. Unfortunately, we simply do not have the revenue to keep pace with increasing demand and the cost of providing those services. That is why we have had to make some tough decisions with this budget."
"This is a difficult time with real impacts to staff and the county." said Cliff Moore, County Manager. "Work on the 2015 budget will start immediately as we continue to look for opportunities to streamline services and explore systemic changes to reduce costs."
For those who wish to examine the budget in detail, it is available on the county web site at www.co.thurston.wa.us.