Public silence at county budget hearing

Earlier in the budget process, few citizens gave comment on the proposed 2012 Kitsap County budget, which is balanced heavily on criminal justice cuts.

No one from the community gave feedback Monday as the proposed $78 million general fund 2012 budget was presented one last time in a public hearing before the Board of County Commissioners.

"It's your chance," said Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido. "I have heard no input since the presentation last Monday."

She spoke to about 10 people at the commissioners' chambers.

The proposed $78 million general fund budget is a decrease of about $898,423 from the 2011 adopted budget, said Amber D'Amato, county budget director.

The major impact for the decrease is a proposed elimination of 29 positions countywide and 139 positions that will have "partial reductions in hours," she said.

Last week at the presentation of the proposed 2012 budget, a few members from the Kitsap County Corrections Guild said that cuts to the county jail need to stop.

With an expected loss of revenue countywide — revenue for 2012 is estimated at $78,648,837 with the 2011 budget revenue at $80,66,300 — cuts had to come from the departments.

The Guild said last week that 17 staff members have been cut from jail operations since the start of the recession.

Since 2008, the county sheriff's office has also lost 37 positions, including 13 deputies which could've filled one watch section.

The 2012 budget will likely be adopted next week with a few minor administrative changes to the proposed version, D'Amato said Tuesday.

"There aren't any substantive changes. No changes to cuts made to each department," she added.

County Commissioners are scheduled to adopt the final 2012 county budget at the regular commissioner meeting Dec. 12.


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