Franklin County Facing Budget Deficit - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin County Facing Budget Deficit

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PASCO, Wash--  Grim economic news for the Franklin County budget.

"It was forseeable in February," says commissioner Rick Miller.  "Right away we could tell this was coming in a little less than what we expected for the budget.   Right away we reduced employment by four people."

The county is $600,000 in the hole.  County commissioner Rick Miller says that hole was dug by weak tax and investment interest revenues, and a small carryover from last year.  A weak economy didn't help.  

"At this point we're 14.6% average down on the taxes," he explains.

That's why come August 3rd, $700,000 will be slashed from the county's $24 million budget.

It's a move that has made at least one commissioner question whether local governments are getting too big.

"We have an obligation to budget to your resources, not to your wish list," explains commissioner Brad Peck.

To help heal the wounds, three county unions agreed to furlough days.  Included is the county prosecutor's office.  It was a decision not easily made.

"I don't think any of the workers are happy to take four hours unpaid every two weeks," says prosecutor Steve Lowe.  "They're here to work, they work hard.   Franklin County isn't the highest paying government anyway, and we're in this financial problem I don't know why, but it's not because of my workers."