Budget negotiators in Seattle’s King County completed a 2011 spending plan that includes many layoffs in the Sheriff’s Office, where deputies have refused to give up a scheduled raise next year, says the Seattle Times. Voters this month rejected a sales-tax increase proposed by county officials to maintain criminal-justice services at current levels and replace a rundown youth services center courthouse.
With property-tax revenue stagnating and sales-tax revenue plummeting, the budget reduces funding for prosecutors, probation supervisors, jails and sheriff’s deputies, and trims or eliminates some public health programs. The already slimmed-down prosecutor’s office is bracing for the loss of 16 deputies and 10 support staff, which will harm its ability to prosecute burglaries, car thefts and property crimes against seniors. The council budget would save some programs County Executive Dow Constantine had proposed to eliminate or slash, including support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and counseling for youths who assault their relatives. The budget creates a $1.5 million “criminal justice reserve” to respond to any emergencies resulting from reduced public-safety spending.