Snohomish County Council vote will cut jobs
The Snohomish County Council on Monday adopted a 2009 budget that cuts 160 positions across government, but council members warned that more reductions could be needed next year if the economic picture worsens.
Times Snohomish County Reporter
The Snohomish County Council on Monday adopted a 2009 budget that cuts 160 positions across government but warned that more reductions could be needed next year if the economic picture worsens.
About half of the targeted positions are vacant because of a countywide hiring freeze imposed in August, but about 80 employees will lose their jobs Dec. 31.
"It's absolutely necessary to take the steps we've taken, but I don't believe we have hit bottom," said Councilman Mike Cooper.
The council renewed its call to Executive Aaron Reardon to negotiate mandatory 10-day furloughs with the county's labor unions for all but essential personnel. Those furloughs, or other cost-saving measures, are necessary to reach the final $2.5 million in savings out of $21 million in cuts needed to balance the $814 million budget.
A standing-room-only audience made up largely of county employees and some human-service advocates heard the council say it was the worst budget crisis to face the county. The county's revenue from construction and home sales has dropped sharply, as well as sales-tax revenue and income from investments.
The council voted 4-1 to approve the budget. John Koster, the only Republican on the council, objected to raising several fees, including surface-water management and the county-road-fund levy. Koster also objected to the county continuing to fund senior centers when it is laying off sheriff's deputies and corrections officers.
In addition to funding senior and family-support centers, the budget preserves some drug-court programs slated for elimination, funds a successful program for single parents, hires sheriff deputies who have already received academy training and establishes a new initiative to renovate the county fairgrounds.
Councilman Brian Sullivan, D-Mukilteo, won support for a budget amendment that prohibits the Economic Development Council of Snohomish County, an independent business group, from using a $120,000 appropriation to promote commercial-passenger flights at Paine Field. Sullivan recommended that the money be used to promote farming.
Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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