Finance Local News

$937M Budget For Spokane County Features No Tax Increment

$937M Budget For Spokane County Features No Tax Increment

Spokane, Washington: A $936.8 million budget for 2024 was unanimously approved by Spokane County commissioners. As per their claims, it will support criminal justice and public safety without increasing taxes. 
Commissioner Amber Waldref pointed out that although Spokane County had been granted state approval for an extra judge twenty years prior, local funding had not been available until recently. In Washington, the $217,391 annual salary of a superior court judge is divided between the state and the presiding county. For the new court team, the county will also provide funding for a deputy clerk, judicial assistant, and court reporter.

In the last four years, Spokane County has seen over $1 billion in new investments, which have helped the county’s economy flourish. As a result, the county has the best credit rating of any county in Washington of similar size, with an assessed valuation of $93 billion for its property tax base.

A motion to increase the county’s property tax cap by a state-permitted 1% for 2024 was rejected last week by French, fellow commissioner Josh Kern, and chairwoman Mary Kuney. Waldref and Jordan, who backed the plan, were outvoted by them. They claimed that while the average homeowner’s property taxes would only rise by about $3 annually, the additional revenue of an estimated $638,000 would be used to pay for staff retention and hiring, especially in the public sector.

Property taxes, state and federal grants, fuel and road taxes, 911 communications levies, real estate excise taxes, and economic development funds are the county’s main sources of income.

Here is a brief description of the $937M allocation-

  • $55M- for capital projects which comprises campus and park improvements.
  • $92M- for internal services that include workers’ compensation and employee insurance program and payments.
  • $128M- for enterprise funds that consist of funding and management of interstate fairs, sewer lines, golf courses and aquifer services.
  • $265M- It offers the greatest degree of discretionary, non-designated funding normally used for hiring staff for administration, parks, planning, and law enforcement;
  • $375M- funding for specific concerns like county road management and mental health services.

Additionally, the new budget has allocated some of the portion for the judicial system. It will support a new superior court judge and support personnel.

Bomb suits for the sheriff’s office, improved vault security, a new intercom system and vehicles for the detention services are some of the major areas of spending.

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