By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The three commissioners approved the balanced budget — which sports a surplus of more than $300,000 — by unanimous vote Tuesday.
“This is a reflection of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, everyone who oversees their departments and all the elected officials working through the process for six months,” Commissioner Mike Chapman said.
County Administrator Jim Jones presented the budget in two public hearings Dec. 4. No public testimony was given in either hearing.
The 2013 budget is the result of union negotiations that took place in late 2011.
Employees agreed to nearly $1.8 million in wage concessions in both 2012 and 2013 in exchange for no layoffs.
The concessions include an additional 16 unpaid furlough days, during which time most offices in the courthouse will be closed.
Like this year, all of the furlough days will occur on a Monday.
Clallam County cut spending from $31.2 million in 2012 to $30.9 million in the 2013 general fund for a projected surplus of $345,227.
The budget preserves a $10.1 million reserve.
The county has laid off or not hired back the equivalent of 32.72 full-time workers since 2009. It enters the new year with a 380-member workforce.
Jones wrote in his budget summary that the weak economy continues to hold back revenues.
“Losses in revenue are mostly the result of cuts from the state in grants and contracts for services from last year’s budget, together with a significant reduction expected in fines and forfeits as traffic ticket collections continue to reduce,” he wrote.
The 2013 budget adds two part-time security officers for the courts. A security committee recommended the enhanced coverage after a Grays Harbor County deputy was attacked at the courthouse in Montesano earlier this year.
The budget has $1 million in one-time revenue from the transfer of real estate excise taxes from capital projects to the general fund.
Every year, Jones notes the county’s net effect as an economic engine in his budget summaries.
In 2013, the county will take $28.4 million out of the local economy from taxes, licences, permits, fines and fees.
“At the same time, we’re putting back into the local economy $58.8 million in this budget in the form of $22.3 million worth of salaries, $22.3 million worth of services that we’re contracting out to people to do services for us and $14.2 million of actual capital construction projects that we have planned in this budget,” Jones said in the second budget hearing last week.
The net effect is a gain of $30.4 million for the economy.
“That’s an important thing that people don’t realize,” Jones said.
Chapman thanked Jones, Budget Director Kay Stevens and “all the department heads for shepherding us through this process to get to a balanced budget once again.
“It continues to reflect the county’s spending priorities, our budgetary process and the good work of the entire county leadership team,” he said.
“That leadership team for the budget starts from the newest employee on up to the Board of Commissioners.
“It’s a budget we can be proud of.”
The Clallam County budget can be reviewed at www.clallam.net.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.