FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Office | December 4, 2023
Board of Island County Commissioners Adopts Budget for 2024
With a focus on maintaining and improving services for the public, the Board of Island County Commissioners approved a $138.4 million budget for 2024 following a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 4.
In addition to revenue concerns, this year’s budgeting process was complicated by inflation, according to Director of Budget and Risk Management Susan Geiger. Costs have increased nearly across the board for county government as they have for the public. And whether a recession is on the horizon remains an unknown.
“There were guardrails placed on the process to create more of a ‘status quo’ budget,” Geiger said.
Describing the budget as “conservative,” the Island County Commissioners said they are pleased that no vital programs or services were cut, even as revenues that bolstered the budget during the COVID-19 pandemic diminished. In fact, Human Services and Public Health will receive increased funding through state grants this coming year.
“From my perspective, this budget recognizes the priorities of government with an emphasis on public safety,” said Janet St. Clair, who chaired the Board of Commissioners this past year. “It’s supportive of the Sheriff’s Office, addresses public safety threats and enhances Public Health initiatives.”
The budget also includes cost-of-living increases for Island County employees and absorbs a jump of between 5-10 percent in employee premiums for health insurance, according to the commissioners.
“I think it’s a good budget with a significant investment in maintaining our facilities,” said Commissioner Jill Johnson, adding that it includes funding to conduct a “needs assessment” to look at construction of a much-needed new Island County Jail. Money was also included in the budget to better support children who are going through the court system.
“I’m confident we will be able to meet our service level commitments to the public,” Johnson said.
“We were much more conservative this year,” said Commissioner Melanie Bacon. “We weren’t applying frosting; we were just looking for genuine meats.” That included funding for some “one-offs” that will help county employees do their jobs more efficiently. For example, the Island County Coroner will be purchasing a new gurney this coming year. There is also money allotted for resources and training for an emergency such as a natural disaster.
Because projects such as road work and facilities maintenance were delayed during the pandemic, money that was held in reserves will see those kinds of projects launched this coming year, according to Geiger.
For more information and to view the 2024 public hearing on the budget, visit the Island County website.
• For more information about the 2024 Island County Budget, contact Susan Geiger at SM.Geiger@islandcountywa.gov or call her at 360-678-7837.