The budget includes no new tax increases, but the council did approve a new $19 yearly fee for homeowners with on-site septic systems.
Council Member Sam Crawford wanted to delay funding the countywide emergency medical service system, in order to make a statement to the city of Bellingham that the county can't tolerate unaccounted increasing costs.
Crawford ultimately withdrew his proposal. Council Member Barbara Brenner says the county didn't negotiate the best contract for its ambulance service.
The higher costs for ambulance service will draw down the county's reserves by more than $1 million next year.
The current contract for countywide emergency medical service ends after 2013.
County Executive Jack Louws says the city has shown a willingness to look into the cause of the increased costs.