The graph above is from a handout disturbed by the City of Tacoma
In May, the City of Tacoma projected a budget cut of 60 million dollars for the 2013-2014 budget. This budget cut has the potential to directly affect many different Tacoma Human Service agencies and programs. The 2011-2012 General Fund Budget is broken down into seven different sections: Police, Library, Human Rights and Human Services, Fire Fighters, Community and Economic Development, Public Works and Street Support, and Other Services (administration). Each of these sections makes up a percentage of the total budget. Some of the programs and agencies receive a higher percentage because they demand more support, such as Police and Fire.
The city is looking for ways to cut back the budget and have turned to the people to help. The city has released a survey for residents of the Tacoma area as well as people who work in the area. This survey has the residents name the priorities of the services from 1 to 10. In addition to the surveys the city also held “Community Input Budget Meetings”, at these meetings residents were encouraged to speak about the different concerns and what service they were most passionate about.
Human Services are part of the budget cut that is coming down the pipe. I had the opportunity to speak with Miriam Barnett, CEO of the YWCA of Pierce County. Miriam explained that this budget cut would affect many in relation to human service. For Miriam at the YWCA, she is fighting to help keep her partners safe, each penny helps to keep the programs running at the YWCA. She also informed me that Tacoma has the highest rate for domestic violence in the state. If funding is cut for these amenities many women and children might have to be turned away from the services. The City relies on human services to help with domestic issues and counseling for these families, without these services Police or Fire would have to step up to the plate and take on these extra challenges. The Human Services section is roughly 3% of the total budget, versus police and fire at 61%. A 15% reduction of human services budget is about $1,762,240 and that represents a 0.7% reduction in fire and police combined. Miriam explained the city service as a human, police/fire department is the body and the library/arts/parks/human services are the heart and soul of the city. She said “The body is an empty shell without the heart and soul”. Our cities heart and soul is at stake. Children are already suffering from budget cuts of the arts in the school system, why cut it down outside of school as well?
Miriam spoke at two of the community meetings and let her opinion be known. Unfortunately the community meetings are over but there is still the survey that can be completed online. Help get the word out about Human services as well as the arts and libraries. This is all a part of our campaign to LIVE UNITED, each opinion helps!
Here is the link to get involved. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B22HH9M