Dollars and Sense

Your input will shape the future of our community

How would you spend $500 in the county's budget?

In future years Thurston County will be at a critical point where projected revenues will not support current services. You can help inform the Board as they consider difficult trade-offs in core services. Property taxes are the main revenue source, and they are limited to a 1% increase per year. That rate of increase does not keep up with inflation and increases in population. This issue is not limited to Thurston County and will continue to be a problem as our community continues to grow.

How are County services funded?

Taxes make up 40% of revenues for the county. The single largest tax source is the property tax. This one source makes up 26% of total revenue. Although the county sends out the property tax bill and collects payments, only 19 cents of every dollar goes to fund county operations. Eighty-one cents are sent to the state and other jurisdictions. Charges for services is the second largest source of revenue. Examples of County services include garbage and solid waste, water and sewer utilities, and building permits. These two sources of revenue account for nearly 70% of revenues.

The economy is good, why does Thurston County have a problem?

The economy is doing well, but the 1% annual

property tax increase limit is leaving counties behind.

While the key revenue source has a 1% increase

cap, prices and population continue to grow. The

county is affected by price increases just like you

and your family see personally. The root of the

problem is the structure of county funding as set by

the Legislature. Other counties are experiencing the

same challenge, and unfortunately it is not a problem

that will just go away.

What has the County been doing to control costs?

Careful spending habits help, but cannot fully offset price and population growth.


A major reduction from the Great Recession remains today.Staffing levels are 150 positions lower than ten years ago.This helps to keep costs low, but does not meet the demands of population growth.

Creating Efficiencies

14 departments were collapsed into 7 to streamline costs.

Reducing Costs

Sustainability initiatives such as efficient lighting and recycling, reduce costs without affecting services.

We want your help

The Board of County Commissioners wants your input on budget priorities. We've created a 5-minute survey that gives you the opportunity to share your priorities by telling us how you would spend $500 in the county budget. The results will be considered by the Board during development of the next budget.

Click Here to Access the Survey