Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy told the County Council today that the region’s economic growth allows for further investments in programs designed to safeguard citizens and support those dealing with behavioral and mental health challenges. The budget is sustainable and responsive to the county’s needs.
“The budget I have presented to the Council allocates approximately 80 percent of the general fund to critical programs that keep residents safe and support the most vulnerable in our community,” said McCarthy. “The combination of our economic growth and the money we’ve saved through finding more cost-effective ways to provide services to our residents provides us with additional resources in 2017.”
The budget specifically supports:
“Given the significant unmet needs in our County, I am asking the Council to approve the mental health sales tax,” said McCarthy. “We anticipate the tax would provide more than $10 million annually to make solid progress in addressing the issues faced by our neighbors, co-workers and family members.”
Other highlights of the budget include further investments in technology enhancements to better serve County customers, increased support for the property clean-up program of Planning and Land Services and Public Works departments, and a new elections tabulation system.
The 2017 budget provides for modest salary increases for County employees in January and June, for a net annual increase of 2.125 percent. The budget also includes resources to cover rising healthcare and pension costs for County employees.
In addition, the budget maintains a 15 percent unassigned General Fund reserve, which provides cash flow without disrupting critical services and maintains the county’s bond rating.
The General Fund budget for 2017 totals $298.7 million. This is $9 million, or 3.1%, above the 2016 level, and reflects the additional investments in public safety. The total County budget for 2017 is $907.1 million, which is $34.6 million lower than 2016, primarily because of declining expenditures for the multi-year expansion of the sewer treatment plant.
The full 2017 budget is available at the County website and is subject to a comprehensive review process by the County Council and the Committee of the Whole over the next several weeks.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Libby Catalinich, Pierce County Communications Director (253) 798-6606 firstname.lastname@example.org