– Derek Young, Pierce County Council

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

9:30 am Human Services Committee

Connie Ladenburg, Chair
Marty Campbell, Vice Chair
Douglas G. Richardson
Dave Morell
Derek Young

Regularly scheduled meetings are broadcast live and replayed on channel 22 (Comcast and Click! Network) and channel 20 (Rainier Connect). Access meeting materials at www.piercecountywa.org/councilcommittees.

Prototype System Model of Pierce County Homelessness
Presenter: Gerrit Nyland, Director of Client Information Systems, Catholic Community Services

Homelessness has many causes. For most people, it’s an economic problem that is a relatively brief, one-time occurrence. It causes trauma and a cascade of other issues but is solvable. For other people with severe behavioral disorders and disabilities, it’s long-lasting and may be permanent.

Here’s what we know — in most economies, some people will experience homelessness due to a loss of income, dissolution of households, health problems, and domestic violence. People overcome these emergencies with support from family or government.

When housing demand exceeds supply and vacancy rates drop below a sustainable level, rents will increase faster than local income. People with higher incomes will compete for housing that was previously affordable for people with less income, eventually hitting the bottom of the market and driving people out of their housing.

Based on this information, we can model the impacts of the housing market on homelessness and determine how we should spend our limited housing dollars.

3:00 pm Council Meeting

Regularly scheduled meetings are broadcast live and replayed on channel 22 (Comcast and Click! Network) and channel 20 (Rainier Connect). Access meeting materials at www.piercecountywa.org/councilcommittees.

Proposal No. R2019–133, Transportation System Funding
Sponsored by: Councilmembers Douglas G. Richardson, Connie Ladenburg, and Dave Morell

This proposal states that we don’t have enough money for roads and asks the Transportation Advisory Commission to make a recommendation for increasing taxes. While I would agree that we need additional transportation funding, the answer is in additional transit.

Additionally, in a county suffering from behavioral health and housing crisis, I think we have more pressing needs.

Ordinance №2019–75, An Emergency Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Adopting Development Moratoria Pursuant to Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 36A.70A.390; Prohibiting Enhanced Service Facilities
Sponsored by: Councilmembers Douglas G. Richardson

While I was gone, the Council passed an emergency moratorium on “Enhanced Service Facilities” in unincorporated Pierce County. These facilities are to house people leaving state psychiatric hospitals but continue to require behavioral, personal, and nursing care services. Historically Pierce County has received a disproportionate share of similar housing, which overwhelms demand for services.

State law requires that when a local government imposes emergency moratoria, it must hold a public hearing within 30 days. The Council can then vote to continue the moratorium and every six months after that.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

9:30 am Flood Control Zone District Board of Supervisors

Derek Young, Chair
Dave Morell, Vice Chair
Pam Roach
Marty Campbell
Connie Ladenburg
Douglas G. Richardson

Pierce County Flood Control Zone District 2020 Budget

When I first arrived at the Council, I was surprised to find that they held the flood control tax at a constant rate of 10 cents per $1000 valuation. As property values increased by rates substantially over inflation, so were our flood control taxes.

The reason for this is a quirk in state law. The state set a cap for flood control tax rates substantially higher than the initial rate promised in Pierce County. That statutory cap means the flood control tax isn’t technically subject to the 1% increase restrictions.

That didn’t sit well with me. We receive little benefit from the flood control district on the west side of the County, and it encourages people to build in flood-prone areas.

It would also make flood control different than other functions of government, which we cap at a 1% increase. I don’t think it’s right to strangle the parts of the government most of us benefit from (e.g., public safety, justice, health, roads, and parks) and privilege those who chose to live in flood-prone areas.

This year, with Councilmember Roach absent, the executive committee was deadlocked in its recommendation so we’ll have two proposals:

  1. The advisory board recommendation brought forward by Councilmember Morrell, which would restore the 10 cents per $1000 valuation.
  2. My recommendation would cap the tax increase to 1%, just like other local governments.

You can see a comparison summary below.

Nothing prevents the communities that want additional flood control improvements from taxing themselves to pay for it. I think that’s what should have happened rather than establishing a countywide district.

As climate change melts our glaciers increasing sedimentation, we are fighting a losing battle against the physics of rivers. It’s time to get smarter about our land use instead of encouraging behavior that requires hundreds of millions of dollars to corral rivers.

My Weekly Calendar

A couple of years ago we got a request for my forward-looking calendar. Rather than have staff waste their time on public record requests, I decided to publish screenshots. Now I’m adding a link to the calendar as well. If you have questions, feel free to call. Keep in mind, my schedule isn’t static. Things will get added, deleted, changed, etc. There are conflicts that I have to pick between. But if people want to see where I’m at and who I meet with, that’s fine by me.