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Commission OKs 2010 budget

By Staff | Oct 9, 2009

The cost of operating Pierce County government is going up.

Following a public hearing last week, the county commission approved the 2010 budget which calls for about an 11 mill increase, however exact mill totals won’t be finalized for another week or so.

The increase equates to about $162,000, as one county mill comes to $14,736.

Last year’s budget saw only about a one and a half mill increase, according to Karin Fursather, county auditor.

The largest increase came in the county’s social service budget where an additional six to eight mills were levied. Fursather said the department had a large carryover in the last budget, and as a result, the county didn’t need to levy as many mills for the current budget.

The health insurance budget is increasing two mills to offset the rising premium costs for county employees’ health insurance. The commission agreed to completely cover all premium costs for workers.

The commission also approved setting aside two mills for emergency snow removal, if necessary. Last year the county depleted that fund due to overtime for workers and the need to contract additional help and rent equipment to plow snow in the county. The county did receive some state emergency funds to offset a good majority of the costs.

The commission also set aside one mill toward the Heart of America Corrections and Treatment Center which it operates. Those funds would only be used if the facility cannot meet its expenditures. Initially, the commission approved two mills, but decided to amend the budget, Fursather said.

While the total mills are increasing, property owners likely won’t seen an increase in their tax statement. That’s due to quite a reduction in mills to operate the local school district. The mill rate dropped from 185 to 110, Fursather said, as a result of more state funding for K-12 public education.

The budget also includes a $25 a month pay increase for county employees.

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