The Pierce County Council on Tuesday approved a $901 million budget for 2017 to fund operations and capital projects, but deferred for two weeks consideration of a new sales tax to pay for mental health and homelessness programs.
That 0.1 of 1 percent proposed tax has stirred some anxiety in the Puyallup City Council, which last week scheduled an emergency meeting to consider passing its own version of the tax before the county council acted.
Puyallup’s consideration of imposing the tax was canceled after County Council Chairman Doug Richardson assured the City Council the county body would not act until mid-December.
Still to be decided is how $10 million expected to be raised by the new tax would be spent and by whom.
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Puyallup, which has been hit hard by homelessness, wants to ensure it will receive at least a share of the $1.9 million the tax is expected to collect there to deal with the problem.
Revenue from the new tax initially was included in the draft budget that County Executive Pat McCarthy submitted, but the council removed it for now on the advice of its budget writers.
Puyallup still could impose its own tax at its Dec. 6 meeting, precluding the county from collecting the tax within Puyallup. The City Council reportedly is divided on how to move forward.
The budget approved Tuesday includes about $297 million in general fund expenditures for governmental operations. The total $901 million budget includes other funds and expenditures for such expenses as capital projects, road improvements and expenses beyond general government.
The largest share of the county’s operating budget goes to law enforcement and the courts. The budget allocates nearly $70 million to the sheriff’s department and $52 million to the jail for operations.
The budget also contains nearly $17 million for Superior Court and $13.5 million for District Court operations. The Superior Court Clerk’s Office received a $6.1 million allocation.
The Prosecutor’s Office line item is $30.7 million, and the Department of Assigned Counsel, which provides attorneys for indigent defendants, will get an $18 million allocation.
Included in other funds are a $72 million expenditure for the county road fund and $7.5 million for parks and recreation. Social services received $29 million and homeless programs got $11.3 million.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663