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Locke signs 1997 budget

1997 King Co. budget On Dec. 6, in one of his last actions as King County executive, Gary Locke signed the $3.2 billion capital and operating budget for 1997, which adds 24 new police officers, opens the new Regional Justice Center in March, and emphasizes community-based human services spending.
   Locke sent the budget to the King County Council on Oct. 14. They unanimously approved the budget Nov. 25.
   In a letter to Council Chair Jane Hague, Locke expressed concern over the council's decision to increase his Current Expense Fund proposal by $2 million to $374 million and to add 160 full-time employees across the board.
   "I understand the demands on elected officials to provide more services, and most of the increases in the budget are for direct services," Locke wrote. "Overall spending levels adopted by the council exceeded the operating budget I submitted by more than $10.2 million."
   Locke said these additions will add to the challenges of the next County Executive.