Prioritizing People

Prioritizing People

– Derek Young, Pierce County Council

At this afternoon’s Council meeting, I voted against Resolution 2019–133. The bill states that county road funding is inadequate to our needs and asks our Transportation Advisory Commission to make a recommendation for increased funding. The revenue shortfall is real, but the same is true for many critical services our residents need.

After the passage of initiative 695, the Legislature eliminated the State’s share of transit funding and gave local agencies an extra .3% sales tax to make up the difference. Pierce County is the only urban county that has failed to pass it, and it’s reflected in the insufficient service our residents’ receive.

After cuts in federal and state behavioral health funding, the Legislature gave counties a .1% sales tax to replace those services. The Pierce County Council is the only urban county legislative body that has failed to pass the bill.

We remain short of recommended staffing levels in the Sheriff’s Department by more than 50 FTEs. Almost 6500 Pierce County residents are currently experiencing homelessness. We trail our peers in nearly every public health metric.

I could go on.

Additionally, the bulk of the planned road projects are on the east side of the county, far from my constituents who are also expected to pay the full cost of the Narrows Bridge.

Pierce County’s long history of poor land-use decisions has led to heavy congestion in several major corridors. The solution is to stop doing the things that got us into this mess in the first place and make smarter investments. We need to prioritize people.