Pierce County’s budget passed late last month and outlines how the county’s $271 million General Fund budget will be spent. That $271 million is some $5 million less than the current budget, though the seeming shortfall is more of an accounting shift.
Total spending for 2014 amounts to $978.1 million. That includes $151 million for sewer construction as the county expands the Chambers Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to accommodate growth. The budget funds 3,007 full-time equivalent positions - 481 fewer than in 2008. It also includes a 1.88 percent cost of living raise for employees, the first such adjustment in three years.
Highlights include opening a new Sheriff’s Department precinct in the Parkland/Spanaway area. It has been in the works for years as a way to provide more visible law enforcement presence. It will also fund performance audits of the Pierce County Jail to help identify cost savings so it can attract more contract business from other jurisdictions – namely Tacoma – that has been lost to Fife.
“The economic outlook for Pierce County continues to improve,” said Council Chair Joyce McDonald (District 2) in a release. “Revenues from sales and property taxes are up, thanks to an increase in construction and consumer activity. Our conservative budgeting in recent years has left us in a stable and secure financial position, particularly because our employees found innovative ways to streamline operations.”