KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Benton County Board of Commissioners gave preliminary approval to more than $7 million in public safety programs and projects in the 2023-24 budget, using funds from the Public Safety Sales Tax. At the end of 2022, the commissioners will finalize and adopt the budget.
Of the total $7,123,069 that has been approved thus far, $4,730,589 is for internal department requests. The largest approval is for the Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility, which would receive $700,000 for its law enforcement range and an additional $700,000 for the training center.
In other large approvals, the Office of Public Defense was approved for $73,680 in funding for two internship positions, plus $840,406 for public defense services. The Coroner’s Office would receive $834,000 for a forensic pathologist, part-time support staff and supplies, according to the budget report.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office requested funding for numerous reasons, totaling more than $1.1 million. It was approved for two cents less than $257,170, granted for support counseling, supplies, training, technology, a legal secretary, courtroom laptops and redaction software. Funding was denied for a victim witness coordinator, recruitment bonuses, two additional deputy prosecuting attorneys and three laptops.
The Sheriff’s Office also requested funding for a slew of reasons, more than the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, with a total above $1.2 million. It was approved for $479,535, with $325,000 solely for a crime scene evidence vehicle. The rest of its funding would go toward mobile police radio replacement, online reporting software, a bomb squad x-ray system, SWAT vehicle vault boxes and forensic software programs. It was denied funding for an accreditation manager, documentation programs, a computer forensics lab, rock automated license plate readers, PIT bumpers, training and unmanned drones.
Three county clerk positions would be upgraded with the approval of $25,000, the smallest department allocation. Code enforcement requested funding for another officer, receiving approval for $183,032. A jail detective position would be created for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Corrections Department through the approved $275,007.
The Superior Court would receive $207,182 for bailiff positions, drug court home monitoring supplies and drug court urinalysis supplies. The Therapeutic Courts requested $55,577 for misdemeanor drug court, which it was approved for. The District Court was denied its requested $100,800 in bailiff service funding.
The remaining $2,392,480 approved would go toward external requests, for community gang and crime prevention programs. Of these, the Boys and Girls Club would receive the most, with $525,000 approved for its Kennewick clubhouse and an additional $250,000 approved for its Prosser clubhouse.
The Benton Franklin Health District was approved for $550,000 to fund its Nurse Family Partnership. The Kiona-Benton City School District would receive $89,000 for its crime prevention program, and SARC would receive $173,264 for an engagement specialist.
Partners for Early Learning would receive $375,216 for its Building Resilience Through Family Support program and the Safe Harbor Support Center would get $430,000 for its My Friend’s Place youth center.
Communities in Schools requested $700,000 for site coordinators but was denied. United Way was denied the $235,000 it requested for its middle school mentoring program.