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County Executive proposes budget cuts

The King County Executive Kurt Triplett gave the tough 2010 budget news yesterday.

According to the County, the general fund has dropped $26 million from 2009. Triplett is proposing to eliminated 367 jobs in the County.

A County press release stated "all major programs" will see a funding decrease. The release stated criminal justice will be least affected with a 1 percent drop form 2009.

Health and human services will see a 37 percent cut in funding, but the release state some services will receive "other funds or innovations."

The County officials are blaming the shortfall on, "A major drop in tax revenues caused by the recession and state limits on the ability of all counties in the state to raise revenues, have created a structural crisis that is reducing King County’s ability to provide services other than those mandated by the state."

Triplett had little good news to serve up with an estimate of a $54.2 million deficit in 2011 and 88.2 million in 2012.

The 2010 budget Triplett proposed cut all general fund allotments to human services, but spends 4.9 million for mental health and substance abuse programs through the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Tax.

The rainy day funds will be funded at $15 million and the emergency reserve fund comes in at $30.9 million. Triplett stated in the release the reserves were needed for the anticipated influenza outbreak and potential flooding in the Green River Valley.

According to the release, "The department’s Alder Square and Kent Teen Clinics are in the Green River Valley potential flood area and will close as part of the county’s preparation to continue services if a flood occurs. Staff will be reassigned and some services will be consolidated at the Birch Creek Clinic in Kent. The department will open another site in the south county to provide some of the services that were at the two clinics. Loss of federal and state grants will account for about half of 106 positions that will be cut and most are vacancies."

Triplett did not propose deep cuts in the prosecutor's office, superior and district courts, public defense and the county jail system.

The executive proposes to spend $3 million to "transition the county out of Animal Care and Control."

The King County Council reviews the proposals before adopting a budget.

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