Spokane County faces $10,000,000 budget deficit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane County faces $10,000,000 budget deficit

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Commissioners are dealing with the same issue many government agencies are, balancing their 2010 budget.  Right now Spokane County is finding itself with a $10,000,000 deficit.  County Commissioners are still trying to figure out how it can fill the gap before taking a look at layoffs or program cuts.

Monday night dozens of people showed up to a meeting at the Spokane County fairgrounds to discuss the 2010 budget.  Commissioner Todd Mielke says revenue is going down in Spokane County and expenditures are on the rise.

Spokane County is looking at a voluntary early retirement program as a way to possibly fill the gap.  The county is also looking at options like freezing raises and furloughs for employees, but those savings would have to be bargained through the union.

County employees seem to be interested in making cuts where they can and union representative Gordon Smith says they are open to ideas,  "In good times (the) union's mission is to enhance workers wages and conditions and when times are bad, at a union leadership level, we see our goal as saving jobs. So if there are ideas out there to save jobs lets take a look at them."

Todd Mielke said there are 260 county employees eligible for the voluntary early retirement program.  Employees have until June 30th to decide if they'll opt for early retirement.  After the June 30th deadline the county will determine how much more of a budget deficit they face, then commissioners will take a look at cutting specific programs or possible layoffs.

Cindi DeHoog
KHQ Reporter

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