Posts tagged: Spokane County budget
Later this week, Spokane County commissioners will take a $10.5 million whack out of the county’s general fund budget.
They’d need $146.8 million to keep everything the county did and offered at the end of next year as they were at the beginning of this year, they can only count on about $136.3 million. Law says they can’t budget bet on an improving economy and budget in the red.
For months, the commissioners and the department heads who report to them, as well as the folks who are elected separately to handle other county functions have wrestled over what and where to cut. When they settle on the final numbers – possibly Tuesday – some people will be sad, some mad, and some really mad. Nobody’s gonna be smiling.
With governments everywhere cutting budgets, the county’s $10.5 million problem may not seem like such a big deal. The state’s budget, after all, is projected to be about $2.6 billion out of whack for the final 18 months of the biennium. By comparison, $10.5 mill is a rounding error.
But there’s a basic fact about the county budget: About 80 percent of it goes to pay the people who do the county’s work. Things it’s required by law to do, like arrest, try, prosecute, defend and punish bad guys. Or figure out what a piece of property is worth, collect the taxes on it, put that money into safe investments and pay it out to different cities, towns and district who have some claim on it. Register vehicles and provide license plates or tabs, file documents that say who owns a piece of property, who is married and who is divorced. Some things the county does, like pave roads and operate the 911 system, have a special tax or fee that pays for all or most of it.
Reporters know that government budget stories generally cause eyes to glaze over. People who read them closely often insist they could do it better, given half a chance.
So we’re going to give you the chance to make cuts to the county’s payroll…