Pierce County Council passes 2018 supplemental budget with emphasis on public safety

Pierce County Council passes 2018 supplemental budget with emphasis on public safety

Yesterday the Pierce County Council voted unanimously to adopt Ordinance 2018-11s, the 2018 supplemental budget as amended. The additional $3.7 million appropriation focuses on supporting public safety, parks and community infrastructure improvements.

Public safety funding includes:

  • An additional FTE to handle nuisance proeprty cases in the civil division of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office
  • $500,000 to hire five additional Sheriff’s deputies
  • $98,000 towards a Public Safety Memorial honoring first responders who lost their lives while serving the citizens of Pierce County

While we’ve now added 28 FTEs to the Sheriff’s Department since 2015, recent staffing analysis shows that this still falls well short of our current needs. As I mentioned in my remarks in support of the budget, much of this problem is driven by the Legislature. Over the last two decades, but particularly accelerating since the Great Recession, the Legislature has squeezed county budgets across the state by capping revenue beneath inflation, cutting shared revenue, and increasing costs with unfunded mandates. This trend cannot continue and you’ll be hearing a lot more about it over the next year.

Parks and community infrastructure improvements appropriated in the 2018 supplemental include:

  • $30,000 for the Red Barn Association to fund physical improvements
  • $1.3 million to Chambers Creek Regional Park to fund greens repairs and backfill revenue lost during the repairs
  • $48,000 to the Spana-Park Senior Center
  • $15,000 to fund ADA improvements at the Voights Creek Hatchery and 116th Street East
  • $1.2 million for a potential property purchase

Believing that we need to be liquidating surplus properties and putting the proceeds towards our mountain of deferred maintenance rather than acquiring new properties, I introduced an amendment to remove the $1.2 million line item. That amendment failed, but final approval will still come back to the Council.

I also introduced an amendment which will pay for the new address signs for emergency responders on the Key Peninsula. We know it’s an inconvenience and want to make sure we keep everyone safe while updating misaddressed properties.