Social services in Olympia are losing critical funding as cuts loom

OLYMPIA — Directors of Olympia social-service programs worry that the city's 2009 budget will force them to cut staffing, services or both at a time when the economic downturn already is taking a heavy toll.

City officials have proposed cutting more than $150,000 in funding for human services for Olympia and Thurston County residents in the 2009 preliminary operating budget. Among the agencies that would be affected are the Olympia Early Learning Center, the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County, Community Youth Services, the Youth Partnership Program and the Human Services Review Council. The budget for the latter, a social-service spending consortium of Thurston County governments, would be cut from $195,000 to $170,000, while the other social services would lose their city funding completely.

The City Council will decide which services to cut when it adopts the 2009 budget. It must do so by the end of the year.

In the meantime, the council has some difficult decisions to make. One discussion about the budget is set for tonight's council meeting. Also, the public will get to have its say at a hearing Tuesday.

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