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Kitsap County will spend $61.8 million in first post-695 year

"Kitsap County’s budget in 2000 will be $2.4 million fatter than it was this year, but most of that increase will be sunk into the skyrocketing cost of medical premiums and supplies.The County Commissioners approved next year’s $61.8 million budget on Monday. It includes a 3 percent personnel cost cut, 5 percent less money for supplies, a 10 percent reduction in extra help (temporary employees), a 20 percent cut in travel and 40 percent less money for capital equipment.The reductions are part of the commissioners’ fiscally conservative response to Initiative 695 and Silverdale’s possible incorporation. The former cut a $1 million-per-year revenue stream to the county, while the latter could divert five times that amount to the new city.After a special Silverdale incorporation election in February, the commissioners will revisit their budget plan.Budget officials expect $59.4 million in revenue next year for the county. The gap between revenues and expenditures – about $2.4 million – will be paid for out of the county’s $12 million savings account.According to Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, most of the increase in the county budget is a product of outside costs.County employee medical insurance premiums skyrocketed to $500,000, despite the fact that employee co-pays were tripled. The cost of gas climbed nearly 73 percent, and asphalt costs are up 10 percent.“We’re never really happy with the fact that we’re spending more,” Commissioner Tim Botkin said. “But, jeez, you spend more for a gallon of milk and you spend more for a gallon of gas.”Botkin reasoned that the county actually is reducing its spending in 2000 compared with this year when inflation is taken into account. “We’re taking more than our share of reductions,” said Botkin.Commissioner Chris Endresen said officials will look at every county department in 2000 for more cost-cutting. She called next year’s budget “pretty lean,” although she said she’d like to spend more money on sheriff deputies, parks and youth programs.Two last-minute additions were made to the budget before the commissioners passed it: A new computer system and money for a death penalty trial. Treasurer Sharon Shrader and Assessor Jim Avery lobbied repeatedly for a new computer system to replace their 15-year-old obsolete computer. The commissioners approved $1.5 million to buy part of the $2.5 million system next year.Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hauge asked for $300,000 to pay for the death penalty prosecution of Brody Walradt. Walradt faces murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of his former girlfriend, Beth Kennard, and Kennard’s late-term fetus.Where does the money go?County administrator Malcolm Fleming offered three Kitsap county residents’ tax bills as examples of where property tax money goes. A North Kitsap home located on Big Valley Road N.E. is assessed at $149,370. A Central Kitsap home on Rocky Ridge Road N.W. is valued at $136,930. One South Kitsap home on Horizon Lane West SE is worth $125,030.Most of the tax distribution percentages were similar. This is the breakdown for the North Kitsap homeowner.• Total taxes paid: $2,152• Amount for county general fund: $212.63, about 10 percent.• Amount for county road fund: $266.95, about 12 percent.• To state general fund: $495.58, about 23 percent.• To the local school district: $462.15, about 21 percent.• School district bond: $240.62, about 11 percent.• Local fire district: $216.84, about 10 percent.• To fire district emergency medical and the library, each $74.69, about 3.5 percent.• To the county juvenile facility, $43.36, about 2 percent.• Several other programs took less than one percent of this resident’s tax payment, including mental health, veterans’ relief, conservation, PUD, library bond, and road tax diversions to the sheriff, prosecuting attorney and clerk’s offices."

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