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King County preliminary 2011 budget cuts deputies and prosecutors and saves some programs | Read Document
A preliminary 2011 budget has been presented by the King County Council Budget Leadership Team today with a series of cuts to close a $60 million deficit.
According to a release from the budget team, the total budget is $5.1 billion with $621 million for the general fund. The release noted 76 percent of the budget is for public safety and criminal justice services.
The release noted the budget does not use cash reserves or the rainy day fund.
The proposed budget would eliminate more than 300 county positions. The King County Sheriff will lose 28 deputies and county prosecutors will lose 16 attorneys and those that remain will see an increase in their caseloads.
In the Superior and District courts, 28 positions were eliminated, reducing probation services in both courts, and shrinking the services provided by court clerks and court reporters. There is no funding available for the replacement of the county’s aging Youth Services Center.
“There were no easy cuts left in this budget,” Council woman Julia Patterson said, chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “King County government is not immune to the realities faced by individuals and families everywhere who are tightening their belts and finding creative ways to spend their money."
Human service programs were also cut in the 2011 budget. There is no general fund contribution to services for at-risk mothers, early learning or after school programs.
According to the release the budget proposal "preserves programs that prevent domestic violence and sexual assault by investing a portion of the savings created by county employees giving up their cost of living adjustments (COLAs). All but one county bargaining unit, the King County Sheriff Deputies, agreed to give up their negotiated COLAs."
The release noted the COLA concessions allowed the team to save or partially save eight deputy prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, corrections officers, alternatives to incarceration programs and other vital public safety services. The budget team also worked with the Superior Court to preserve funding for family services provided by the court, such as mediation, parent coaching and evaluation and child advocacy to troubled families.
The proposed budget directed the sheriff to maintain two deputies that will focus on the investigation of property crimes in unincorporated King County. It also restored positions in the sheriff’s office using savings associated with the sheriff employees that did agree to forgo their cost of living adjustments: a fire investigator, a records and evidence specialist and three communications officers in the 911 operations center. The proposed budget also includes $1.5 million in funding that will be held in reserve to allow the county to quickly respond to emerging criminal justice and public safety needs in 2011.
Usually the council passes the budget the Monday prior to Thanksgiving, which would be Nov. 22.