Heading into my second and final term, I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve Pierce County again. We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far and excited to complete several projects underway.
We had another successful budget effort thanks to the ideas sent my way by the public and your community leaders. We start with a focus on continuing improvements to public safety. The 2019 budget includes the addition of six new positions in the Sheriff’s Department as well as one position each for Superior Court, Medical Examiner’s Office and Emergency Management.
We have also continued to scale up investments to increase cleanup of nuisance properties that present health and public safety hazards. You’ve probably seen the fruits of those efforts around the Key Peninsula.
While we can’t get to every property as quickly as we’d like, and the appeal process does take some time, we’ve been able to improve from four percent to 62 percent resolution within 120 days. That’s a remarkable turnaround and shows that with the right resources, our staff can get things done.
I am thrilled that the council supported amendments I sponsored, like fee credits for affordable housing, support for a new pre-apprenticeship program managed by Workforce Central, and expanding South Sound 211, a statewide database of community resources managed by United Way to cover all behavioral health services, a recommendation from the Opioid Task Force.
We were also able to secure funding for a number of other programs and organizations important to Key Peninsula residents.
This year we’ll be joined by two newly elected members: Dave Morell from District 1 (R-South Hill) and Marty Campbell from District 5 (D-Tacoma). I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll each bring to the council.
During reorganization, I was appointed chair of the Community Development Committee responsible for land use, environment, parks and recreation. I will also serve on the Public Safety and the newly created Human Services committees.
In addition to our duties as members of the Pierce County Council, we represent the county on several external boards and commissions for various different agencies and advisory bodies.
This year I’ve been asked to continue to serve as co-chair on the Legislative Steering Committee for the Washington State Association of Counties. This will be a hugely important session for counties on a variety of issues, particularly behavioral health, Puget Sound recovery and criminal justice funding.
The Growth Management Policy Board is Puget Sound Regional Council’s land use body where I’ve represented Pierce County since joining the council. We’re in the midst of updating our regional land use plan called Vision 2050. A wide range of social and transportation problems all find their roots in the region’s rapid growth and our inadequate response. We need a change of direction to ensure that we protect our quality of life and environment, and make sure everyone benefits from the explosion of economic development we’ve seen.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health is made up of members from city and county government. We’re responsible for protecting and improving the health of all people and places in Pierce County.
Other boards and commissions I’ve been asked to continue on:
The Month Ahead
The council will consider adding Lakebay Marina to our Register of Historic Places Feb. 12. The application is under the name it originally operated under (Washington Co-Operative Egg & Poultry Association Lakebay Station). If approved, the property would be eligible for grants and tax breaks designed to encourage preservation.
Derek Young (D-Gig Harbor) represents the 7th District, including the Key Peninsula, on the Pierce County Council.
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