Interim county manager recommends 2021 budget

County Council public hearings scheduled to begin Mon., Nov. 16

VANCOUVER – Interim Clark County Manager Kathleen Otto has presented her recommended 2021 balanced budget to the county council for consideration.

“All budgets require prioritization and I affirm that this recommended budget sustains current operations, may result in future efficiencies, and is consistent with council priorities,” Otto said in a statement to the county council.

The county council will consider the $556 million budget during a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. Mon., Nov. 16. The county’s other elected officials will be first to testify on budgets proposed by their departments.

The council will continue the public hearing to 10 a.m. Tue., Nov. 17, and If needed, the hearing will be continued to 10 a.m. Wed., Nov. 18.

Due to COVID-19 the council meetings are closed to the public until further notice, but the public may participate in the following ways:

  • Watch the meeting live on CVTV channels 23/323
  • Livestream at www.cvtv.org
  • Listen to audio only by calling 1.408.418.9388 and entering the following access codes:
    • Nov. 16 access code 146 954 1686
    • Nov. 17 access code 146 936 2861
    • Nov. 18 access code 146 102 7389
  • Submit written comments via the county website at https://clark.wa.gov/councilors/public-comment or mail them to: Clark County Council, c/o Rebecca Messinger, PO Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000

At the public hearing, the council will deliberate and make a decision on the 2021 budget.

Current challenges

Clark County continues to face the ongoing challenge of a structural deficit in the general fund, a systemic problem for counties across the nation that results from expenses growing faster than revenue. Clark County also has the ongoing issue of sales tax leakage lost due to being a border county to a state with no sales tax. If Clark County received the state average sales tax in 2019, it would have received an estimated additional $12.7 million in revenue.

In addition, Clark County has faced a reduction in revenues and increase in expenses due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Looking through the end of 2020 and into 2021, there are still uncertainties due to the pandemic.

Key criteria

  • Maintaining appropriate levels of reserves
  • Minimizing impact to services and residents
  • Addressing critical needs and liabilities

The complete 2021 recommended budget can be found on the county’s website at https://clark.wa.gov/budget/2021-budget.  

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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