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On Monday, King County Executive Ron Sims told the council that the ballooning 2009 general fund budget deficit is up to $86.5 million. Then the

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Today in County Budget Wars

budgetcrunch.jpg

On Monday, King County Executive Ron Sims told the council that the ballooning 2009 general fund budget deficit is up to $86.5 million. Then the County Council voted to make public safety a priority, but they don't start their budget deliberations until they get the Executive's proposals in October.

That same day, Sims' office told Sheriff Sue Rahr that she needed to come up with another $2.5 million to cut from her budget. That's on top of the $7.5 million Sims told her to ax from her budget earlier this year, according to an e-mail Rahr sent to Department of Public Safety staff yesterday. The e-mail also notes that her many of her original proposals, including reducing the overall budget of the communal overhead costs all departments pay into, were rejected. (In an earlier interview with the Weekly, Sims Chief of Staff Kurt Triplett said those cuts were nonstarters.)

So now, Rahr says, the initial 20 deputy positions she proposed to cut from the budget will increase. By how much, she doesn't specify.

But as Rahr writes in her e-mail: "Of course the fight is not over." With the budget eventually headed for the council, Rahr is promising to "fight vigorously to show how these unprecedented cuts to the Sheriff's Office will put lives and property in danger."

You can read more of SW'sRahr, council members, and Sims as the deficit continues to rise. The entire text of Rahr's e-mail is below the jump. Sims' own e-mailed explanation for the rising deficit numbers is here.

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Good afternoon.

On Friday, Executive Ron Sims announced the King County budget deficit for 2009 is no longer $60 million, as announced in June. The deficit has now ballooned to $86.5 million.

On Monday, I was stunned to learn that the impact of the new projections on the Sheriff’s Office would be an additional $2.5 million in cuts for next year’s budget, on top of the $7.5 million we’ve already been directed to cut.

* When I submitted my budget proposal to Executive Sims in July, it included several proposals to save money and therefore save jobs. I proposed cutting over $725,000 from what we pay to other County departments, including Motor Pool, Information Technology, Human Resources, Finance, Building Facilities, and so on.

* I offered proposals that would save a considerable amount of money by reducing the size of our pool and returning cars we do not need. I proposed cutting $750,000 from Blue Ribbon Panel reforms. I proposed increasing fees, correcting accounting errors made by the Budget Office, charging AFIS for some overhead functions we provide, and adding revenue as a result of taking over fire investigations.

* These proposed changes would have allowed me to save a number of jobs, even though it still meant cutting 13 administrative positions and 20 deputy and detective positions for 2009.

On Tuesday, I learned that virtually all of my proposed ideas for budget savings outlined above have been rejected by the budget office. I now have to identify an alternative 2 million dollars in cuts. That’s right…on top of the additional 2.5 million in cuts I got yesterday.

There is nothing left to cut. I have no choice but to eliminate more jobs.

I will be meeting with the Chiefs on Thursday to identify 45 additional positions to cut in 2009. That’s in addition to 13 administrative and 20 commissioned positions that had previously been identified for 2009 cuts, and the 21 positions we already had to eliminate this year.

The only good news I have to report is that most of these budget reductions will not directly affect our contracts. Hopefully most of the commissioned positions cut can be moved to our contract cities, Metro Transit, and Sound Transit as they add positions for 2009. However, that may not be the case if Metro is forced to reduce their projected new hires for 2009.

Of course the fight is not over. Executive Sims’ budget must be passed by the County Council and I will fight vigorously to show how these unprecedented cuts to the Sheriff's Office will put lives and property in danger. I look forward to working with all of our labor unions to help protect KCSO jobs.

As soon as we have a better idea where these new cuts will come from, I’ll let you know. I deeply regret having to deliver this bad news to you. But it is necessary for every employee in this organization to know what is happening.

Thanks for your support and the great work you do every day.

 
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