Council Schedule Highlights Week of November 4th, 2019

Council Schedule Highlights Week of November 4th, 2019

– Derek Young, Pierce County Council

Monday, November 4th, 2019

1:30 pm Community Development Committee

Derek Young, Chair
Dave Morell, Vice Chair
Marty Campbell
Jim McCune
Douglas G. Richardson

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

Proposal №2019–87, Capital Facilities Plan — 2020 Amendments
Sponsored by: Councilmembers Pam Roach and Derek Young

The Capital Facilities Plan, an element of our Comprehensive Plan, details the County’s projected capital needs and financial resources necessary to serve our residents.

We have an enormous list of deferred maintenance due to tax cuts and unfunded mandates straining County resources. And let’s face it; replacing the HVAC isn’t as much fun as a trail or ball field ribbon cutting. Combined with our two-term limit, there have been powerful incentives for elected officials to put off essential but unsexy capital needs.

On top of that, County elected officials have tried for decades to consolidate into a pair of buildings or campus. It would be more efficient, reduce long term costs, and help recruit quality employees.

Unfortunately, that effort failed again. At this point, our rundown facilities are unsafe for employees and the public, not to mention a waste of resources. Costs are increasing much more quickly than revenue.

Despite our Facilities Department’s best efforts, the current pace of closing the deferred maintenance backlog is unacceptable to me. That’s why I’m exploring the possibility of bonding a portion of our Real Estate Excise Tax to speed things up.

I’ll know more after some initial analysis. Meanwhile, our bill system is currently down, so if you want to see what the Capital Facilities Plan looks like, you can see the 2019 version here.

Proposal No. R2019–147, Regulation of Solar Electricity Infrastructure — Request for Code Analysis and Environmental Review
Sponsored by: Councilmembers Derek Young, Marty Campbell, and Dave Morell

Peninsula Light, the utility cooperative serving the Key and Gig Harbor Peninsulas and islands, approached Pierce County with a bright idea. They want to install a “community solar project” on the capped landfill in Purdy. Its southern orientation and lack of trees make it the perfect location. There are also very few other things you can do on a landfill cap.

Then we ran into a problem. It turns out electricity generation isn’t a permitted use in rural zones. I strongly suspect this stems from the days when that would have been from an industrial process like gas or some other fuel. There are also other facilities ideally suited for these types of projects, like schools and fire stations.

The bill would direct staff to develop a recommendation and take it to the Planning Commission before returning to the Council. We’re on a relatively tight timeline because Pen Light has financing for the project that expires.

Tuesday, November 5th, 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

Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital Update
Presenter: Bill Robertson, MultiCare President and CEO

Wellfound is the new psychiatric hospital on the Allenmore campus in Tacoma. It’s a joint partnership between CHI Franciscan and Multicare with support from the state and local governments, including the County. You may have read coverage of their struggles to gain certification and open. Given the behavioral health crisis in Pierce County and significant public interest in the hospital’s opening, I thought it appropriate to ask for a presentation to the committee.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Budget Overview
Presenter: Nancy Sutton, Deputy Director, Health Department

Although the Health Department is a separate agency, the County is a key funding partner and have contracted to support several priorities through it. In addition to the “health pool” which funds TPCHD’s flexible spending, we’re looking at other priorities to provide on a contract basis like:

  • Ongoing toxic algae testing
  • Reducing incidence of very low birth weight babies
  • Staffing the Opioid Tax Force

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

This week we continue having COWs about the budget ⁠ — Committees of the Whole. They’re best understood as a cross between study session and a Council meeting. The whole Council is there, but we use the more the public hearing format. It’s an opportunity for the departments to comment on their proposals and answer questions. Later, we’ll use the COWs for the first run of budget amendments.

9:30 am Committee of the Whole

Reserved — None of the departments are scheduled but the Council Chair held this open in case that changed or to allow for Council discussion.

1:30 pm Committee of the Whole

Department of Assigned Counsel
Presenter: Michael Kawamura, Director, Department of Assigned Counsel

Human Services Department
Presenter: Heather Moss, Director, Human Services Department

Friday, November 8th, 2019

9:30 am Committee of the Whole

Superior Court
Presenter: Judge Gary Johnson, Presiding Judge, Superior Court

Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Presenter: Mary Robnett, Prosecutor, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

Medical Examiner
Presenter: Gary Robinson, Director, Finance Department

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.