All News

Posted on: February 17, 2015

County Council approves new General Services Building plan

After years of planning, members of the Pierce County Council voted 4-3 on Feb. 17 to proceed with a major consolidation of county services into a new General Services Building.

Councilmembers Rick Talbert (District 5), Connie Ladenburg (District 4), Derek Young (District 7), and Joyce McDonald (District 2) voted for the plan. Council Chair Dan Roach (District 1) and Councilmembers Doug Richardson (District 6) and Jim McCune (District 3) voted against it.

The consolidation will bring together 19 departments and divisions currently scattered in 14 locations, including eight commercial leases covering 150,000 square feet.

"This business plan will save taxpayers millions of dollars in leases, staffing and maintenance costs," said Councilmember Talbert, who represents the area in Tacoma’s South End that will house the new campus. "We have carefully analyzed current and future costs, asset values, risk, and more. An independent consultant verified our staff savings through consolidation. This pencils out in the taxpayers' interest."

The 330,000-square-foot building will be constructed on the county-owned, 13-acre Pacific Avenue campus just up the hill from downtown. That site currently houses the former Puget Sound Hospital, which closed years ago. The county negotiated a "guaranteed maximum price" of $126.9 million with the developer, Wright Runstad & Company.

"This makes good business sense. We will redirect eight current lease payments to this new building, and the consolidation will enable us to cut 38 staff positions, saving another $4 million a year," said Councilmember Ladenburg. "No taxes will be raised to pay for this. We can pay for it with existing resources and the savings gained from consolidating our services, and the savings will grow over time."

The county made adjustments to the project based on feedback from the public, including four community meetings in January and February.

County Executive Pat McCarthy publicly introduced the proposal in 2013 after several years of studying the service delivery in all county facilities -- owned and leased. Under the plan adopted Tuesday, most general government services will be consolidated into one General Services Building in a lease-to-own agreement with a nonprofit corporation. Services will include building permits, business licenses, Health Department records, and property tax payments, among others.

The Executive thanked the County Council majority for analyzing the cost difference between the status quo and the savings over the next 30 years.

"Taxpayers expect us to utilize public resources efficiently and effectively. This plan will save money while improving the delivery of services to the 820,000 residents we serve," she said. "My administration will now complete the planning for the staff changes and program improvements made possible by consolidating 19 departments and divisions into one location."

Chair Roach, in explaining his position, said the reliance on staff savings was too risky.

"In order to make the mortgage payments, 38.1 jobs would have to stay eliminated for the duration of the mortgage, and we can't promise that future councils and executives would adhere to that," he said. "I sincerely hope I'm proven wrong and everything works out for the best, but I couldn't in good conscience ask our taxpayers to shoulder that risk. I wouldn't make that commitment with my own money, and I don't think we should make it with their money either."

The building will house approximately 1,300 employees, including about 250 from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, an independent agency that is joining the county as a tenant in the new building. Other tenants will include the four departments in the Pierce County Annex, a 1950s-era building that originally housed a discount department store. The Annex site likely will be sold.

The county's existing downtown campus, anchored by the County-City Building, will continue to house about 1,000 employees from the law and justice sectors in what will be redeveloped with existing resources over time as the Pierce County Justice Center.

Construction of the General Services Building will begin next month, with occupancy expected in fall 2016. Project documents and updates are available at www.piercecountywa.org/gsb.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Dan Roach, Pierce County Council Chair
(253) 798-3635
dan.roach@co.pierce.wa.us

Hunter George, Pierce County Communications director
(253) 798-6606
hgeorge@co.pierce.wa.us

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email

Other News in All News

County observes Labor Day, Sept. 4

Posted on: September 1, 2017

Excessive heat expected this week

Posted on: August 1, 2017

Aug. 1 Primary Election at-a-glance

Posted on: July 13, 2017

Countywide burn ban to begin July 15

Posted on: July 13, 2017

Pierce County Talks - July 2017

Posted on: July 3, 2017
Memorial Day image

County observes Memorial Day

Posted on: May 26, 2017

Candidate Filing Week begins May 15

Posted on: April 19, 2017

Veterans Advisory Board seeks members

Posted on: March 17, 2017

County observes Presidents' Day

Posted on: February 17, 2017

New Location for Budget and Finance

Posted on: January 3, 2017

Video News: 2016 Year in Review

Posted on: December 28, 2016

Treecycle your Christmas tree

Posted on: December 21, 2016

Road crews ready to respond to snow

Posted on: December 8, 2016

Pierce County Talks, July 2017

Posted on: July 3, 2017

Guidance for Social Security in 2017

Posted on: November 29, 2016

County observes Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 23, 2016

County observes Veterans Day

Posted on: November 10, 2016

County Council Meeting to be held in Fife

Posted on: September 27, 2016

Video News: Farming Special

Posted on: September 22, 2016

District Court early closure, Sept. 16

Posted on: September 7, 2016
Labor Day

County observes Labor Day, Sept. 5

Posted on: September 2, 2016

Heat advisory notice and options

Posted on: August 18, 2016

Video News: Tourism Special

Posted on: August 18, 2016

Tips for staying safe on 4th of July

Posted on: June 30, 2016

Video News: Tourism Special

Posted on: June 2, 2016

Grandparenting has a new look

Posted on: June 1, 2016

County observes Memorial Day

Posted on: May 27, 2016

Passing of Robin McKinney

Posted on: May 4, 2016

Jury duty scams on the rise

Posted on: April 8, 2016

Pierce County is looking to lease

Posted on: February 3, 2016

Board of Equalization seeks members

Posted on: January 13, 2016

Video News: Best of the last 10 years

Posted on: January 4, 2016

Video News: Best of 2015

Posted on: December 29, 2015
Treecycle image

Treecycle your Christmas tree

Posted on: December 22, 2015

Emergency Operations Center open

Posted on: December 9, 2015

Sheriff's Community Academy openings

Posted on: December 7, 2015

County observes Veterans Day

Posted on: November 9, 2015

Video News: The Trails of Pierce County

Posted on: October 9, 2015
CPR_Flyer.jpg

Free CPR Sunday event at Foss High School

Posted on: September 23, 2015

Video News: Best of the U.S. Open

Posted on: September 11, 2015

Parks and Recreation Touch A Truck event

Posted on: September 8, 2015

County observes Labor Day

Posted on: September 4, 2015

Police help seniors to be safe at home

Posted on: September 2, 2015

Sheriff's Community Academy openings

Posted on: July 28, 2015

Video News: Best of the U.S. Open

Posted on: July 16, 2015

Referendum qualifies for ballot

Posted on: July 10, 2015

Video News: Tourism Special

Posted on: July 6, 2015

County observes Independence Day

Posted on: July 2, 2015

Excessive heat advisory issued

Posted on: June 25, 2015

County observes Presidents' Day on Feb. 16

Posted on: February 13, 2015

Boundary Review Board seeks applicants

Posted on: February 12, 2015

Sheriff's Community Academy openings

Posted on: February 9, 2015

Road work postponed on 66th Avenue East

Posted on: February 6, 2015

County observes MLK on Jan. 19

Posted on: January 16, 2015

Volunteer for Civil Service Commission

Posted on: January 9, 2015

Learn how to use Social Security

Posted on: December 30, 2014

Video News: Best of 2014 Special

Posted on: December 29, 2014

Tips to treecycle your Christmas tree

Posted on: December 22, 2014

Dementia: Setting the Record Straight

Posted on: November 3, 2014

District Court early closure on Sept. 12

Posted on: September 5, 2014

Your feet may be telling you something

Posted on: August 29, 2014

Video News: Farming Special

Posted on: August 28, 2014

Video News: Tourism Special

Posted on: July 24, 2014

County offices closed May 26

Posted on: May 26, 2013

Video News: Farming Special

Posted on: April 3, 2014

Pay your property taxes online

Posted on: March 18, 2014

Brookdale Road sewer project resumes

Posted on: March 7, 2014

County offices closed Feb. 17

Posted on: February 14, 2014

Sheriff's Community Academy openings

Posted on: February 7, 2014

County offices closed Jan. 20

Posted on: January 17, 2014

County Council elects Dan Roach as chair

Posted on: January 14, 2014

Homeless Coalition seeks volunteers

Posted on: January 9, 2014

Video News: Aviation Special

Posted on: January 2, 2014

Video News: Best of 2013 Special

Posted on: December 20, 2013

Video News: 2013 Economic Special

Posted on: December 20, 2013

Tips to treecycle your Christmas tree

Posted on: December 20, 2013

New levee will protect people, help salmon

Posted on: December 19, 2013

County offices closed Nov. 11

Posted on: November 8, 2013

Tips to prepare now for flood season

Posted on: November 4, 2013

Learn how to decipher Health Care Reform

Posted on: October 21, 2013
Pierce County Votes badge

‘I Voted’ badge goes digital

Posted on: October 17, 2013

PCTV wins 5 first-place programming awards

Posted on: September 27, 2013

Pet owners, avoid late fees in October

Posted on: September 16, 2013

Video News: Aviation Special

Posted on: September 5, 2013

Video News: Northwest Trek special

Posted on: August 29, 2013

Sheriff's Community Academy openings

Posted on: August 27, 2013

Grandparenting has a new look in 2013

Posted on: August 27, 2013

County offices closed July 4

Posted on: July 3, 2013

Video News: Aviation Special

Posted on: June 21, 2013

County offices closed May 27

Posted on: May 24, 2013

Home Safe on Cinco de Mayo

Posted on: May 10, 2013
L to R- Carrie Appling, Rebekah Vaughan, Maureen Sorenson, and Amber Hasler

Our CASAs are Superheroes

Posted on: April 23, 2013

PCTV earns 2 EMMY nominations

Posted on: April 18, 2013

Exporting creates jobs and profits

Posted on: April 3, 2013

Candidate workshop set for April 3

Posted on: March 26, 2013

County offices closed Feb. 18

Posted on: February 15, 2013

Learn the ins and outs of Medicaid

Posted on: January 23, 2013