Pierce County Council announcement.
This week the Pierce County Council took action to make changes to the previously adopted 2022-2023 biennial budget, including re-allocating a portion of the county’s federal American Rescue Plan Act monies.
The action came through a budget supplemental request from the Pierce County Executive’s Office, which council members then amended to make further changes before final approval. The reallocation included moving $20 million in ARPA funds, including some that were not previously committed to programs.
“A lot has changed since November when the budget was adopted that we couldn’t predict at the time,” said Council Chair Derek Young, noting the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising gas prices and inflation costs, and ongoing pandemic impacts to the supply chain.
Young also pointed to anticipated financial impacts from a pending labor contract with the Sheriff’s Department, whose employees are members of the County’s largest bargaining unit.
“The bulk of the changes to the budget were done to support the anticipated impacts of the proposed labor agreement with the deputies guild,” Young said. “We are trying to prepare for a significant increase in operating costs when it looks like revenue projections won’t keep pace.”
Through the ARPA reallocation, $10 million will go to the county’s general fund for revenue replacement. The remaining $10 million was divided between other needs, including a requested $4 million to offer recruitment and retention bonuses, and salary increases for Pierce County Sheriff’s Department deputies. While council approved the appropriation, the contract is still subject to approval by the bargaining unit.
“This budget represents a major increase in investment in law enforcement expenditures for salaries,” Young said. “Sadly, it doesn’t change anything in the need to increase the number of deputies filling the department’s vacancies. To compete in this market, we need to step up substantially.”
The adopted ordinance now heads to the Executive for signature.