County Cuts $1 million from 2007 Budget

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners today approved more than $1 million in cuts from the county’s 2007 budget. Trimming this year’s budget will make for a “softer landing” in 2008, when an anticipated revenue shortfall hits the county’s general fund, said Ben Holland, the county’s director of administrative services.
Commissioners also agreed to continue a hiring freeze that was instituted at the beginning of the year.
Holland’s comment brings to mind the chilling image of a plane navigating through choppy air as flight attendants scurry to make sure passengers are wearing their seat belts. Right now, we’re talking 1 million in cuts from a budget of nearly $329 million. County budget officials are trying to get a handle on 2008 budget predictions. No one knows for sure just how rough the landing will be. One thing officials say with certainty is that the downward trend is sure to continue.
Today a hiring freeze, tomorrow, layoffs? SK Commissioner Jan Angel has said, “That’s a very real possibility.”
Reasons cited for the shortfall in the county’s 2007 Budget Book include unfunded mandates required by the state, increased costs for health insurance, and for law and justice programs (which make up 63 percent of the county’s general fund), skyrocketing energy costs and the 1 percent limit on existing property tax revenue established by I-747.
New North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer, noting that property taxes are “one of the primary sources of revenue for us,” said the results of I-747 have been that revenues from property taxes have not kept up with inflation.
The $1.06 million worth of budget cuts includes a $400,000 reduction in the board’s “one-time” expenditures, a fund that the three commissioners can access for special projects or needs that come up during the year. Other reductions include $410,000 in savings by delaying the purchase of computer equipment, $152,000 in savings by delaying hiring when a vacated position requires annual and sick leave cash outs, and $98,000 reduced spending on temporary help.
The cuts will affect all departments. Department managers have been working over the last six months to identify ways to shore up fund balances against a budget shortfall that will hit the general fund in 2008 and the county’s road fund in 2010.

3 thoughts on “County Cuts $1 million from 2007 Budget

  1. I believe the $329 million figure overstates the locally funded portion of the general fund budget by quite a bit. That $329 million includes a lot of state and federal funding that is earmarked for specific uses — so the county cannot cut it and save anything. Assuming the county could choose not to spend it, the county would not get the funds.

    The locally funded general fund budget is less than $100 million a year.

    Aside from that, how could delaying budgeted expenditures do anything more than push those costs into next year or the year after? It isn’t a reduction in spending that would actually reduce the deficit the county says is coming in the next year or two.

  2. One problem with calculators is that they often will give you an answer regardless of what you ask.

    .004% of $329 million is $13,160, not $1 million.

    $1m is more like 3/10’s of 1%.

    That said – Bob’s right in first looking at what is really in the control of the commissioners to cut – and secondly identifying that delaying an expenditure isn’t a cut…unless the delay is permanent.

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