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County looking for way to chop budget

In response to current budget problems, the Kitsap County leaders found a way to cut more than $1 million from the general fund.

“We are being forced to make some urgent decisions,” said Administrative Services Director Ben Holland. “By stretching out some programs and going after grant funding, we will be able to save this money.”

The cuts will be accomplished primarily by cutting one-time expenditures and deferring the purchase of new computer equipment. But several departments have given up the option to hire extra help.

Holland said the initial cuts reflected a collaborative effort, since several departments made the same promise to give up ancillary personnel.

“Everyone knows this is serious,” he said.

This action was coupled with a re-emphasization of the current hiring freeze.

In the future, all departments will need to pay off accrued sick leave and vacation time before filling a vacant position.

The action of cutting the $1.06 million was formalized in a resolution that was approved on Monday.

It included $400,000 worth of one-time only expenditures in the commissioners’ office and $410,000 of computer equipment. Another $152,000 will be saved through annual leave/sick leave pay outs, while extra labor will not be hired in the commissioners, prosecutor, clerk, purchasing, administrative and parks departments.

“This is an important first step,” said North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer. “But we will need to do a lot more after this.”

“That we have found a way to cut a million dollars shows some real belt-tightening,” said Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown. “This is the first time we’ve taken this action, and it shows that we are serious about cutting the budget.”

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