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The New Year is underway for the Pierce County Council. I’d like to show you what we accomplished in 2016 and what is ahead for 2017.

I am honored to be serving the residents of Pierce County District 7 and always appreciate hearing from you. Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

For schedule highlights and policies, follow me on Medium. You can also find more frequent updates at Facebook and Twitter.


Peninsula Detachment

Public Safety and Justice


Your safety is very important, and I'm excited that the council was able to allocate money in the budget for public safety. The Sheriff's Peninsula Detachment will have a new Community Policing Deputy in 2017.  This position will focus on non-emergency calls, allowing other deputies to respond to priority calls. The council also funded a Crime Prevention Mobilizer on the Key Peninsula via Safe Streets. All these positions will help contribute to ensuring the safety of individuals on the Peninsula.

In 2015 we created the Property Crimes Unit, to proactively go after the small number of criminals who commit the majority of property crimes and we’re already seeing results. While the budget is still strained and we have a long way to go before restoring normal staffing, public safety continues to be my priority.

In support of that goal, the Sheriff has a survey about his department’s service and what you’d like to see. It would be helpful if you would take a few minutes to fill it out. Please click on this link to take you to a short introductory video and survey.


Fox Island Bridge work

Fox Island Bridge

Giving the Fox Island Bridge a new lease on life won't come cheap, but I've begun planning for that now. The price tag for major repairs could run about $13 million but replacing the whole bridge is estimated at over $127 million in 2016 dollars. Regardless, we're going to need multiple funding sources to get the job done. I included an amendment in this year’s budget to keep the project moving forward and expedite project selection.

Pierce County will continue to have community meetings throughout the development process of this project to continue to get feedback on bridge options. For more information about this project click here



HSRI report

Behavioral Health

Responding to the behavioral health crisis in our County remains a challenging task. As evidenced by the independent HSRI report, Pierce County falls behind on virtually every metric and our system is full of holes. Last fall I co-sponsored a bill following 22 other counties in adoption of the one tenth of one percent sales tax for behavioral health. You can read more here about the bill and the policy framework I developed to ensure the funds would be spent effectively and efficiently. Unfortunately, despite the clear need, overwhelming community support, and a 4-3 majority, we failed to achieve the supermajority required by the County’s charter. 

The need isn't going away and will almost certainly get worse depending on actions taken at the federal level. In response, the council has created two select committees. The Human Services Committee will look at our whole spectrum of services, but focus initially on the HSRI recommendations that we can implement without new revenue. The Budget Committee, which I'll be part of, will take a deep dive into all of our current resources and expenditures. I’m eager to see what develops from this effort. 


Cushman Trail

Park Impact Fees

A big win for parks and trails last year was an increase in Construction Impact Fees. Impact fees are a one-time charge to new development to cover part of the cost to government services generated by growth. The impact fees increased the one-time fee from $385 to $2,552 phased in increments over the next year and a half. I’m proud of the fact that this ordinance not only earned bipartisan support, but also the endorsement of the Master Builders’ Association. They provided a lot of great input that improved the final product and increased accountability. The ordinance also returns funds collected on the peninsulas, back to the Metropolitan Park District which currently funds parks in the rest of the county.


Budget Wins

  • Additional Prosecutor for Identity Theft (common problem in our district)
  • Additional Superior Court Commissioner for domestic violence emphasis
  • Another year of returning $100k in Park Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) to the peninsula metro park districts
  • Funded the Key Peninsula Family Resource Center and Red Barn Association (teen drop-in center)
  • Emergency Response Supplies for Fox Island
  • Historic Preservation Grants for Longbranch Improvement Club-Clubhouse Preservation, Fort Nisqually Foundation, Gig Harbor BoatShop, and Key Peninsula Historical Society & Museum
Broadband Image

Looking Ahead…

Similar to parks, impact fees for schools have not met the need that exists. I have sponsored a study to examine the actual needs created by the rapid growth in Pierce County. As part of the study the council will receive a stakeholder group recommendation.

I also sponsored a countywide broadband internet study which is funded in the 2017 budget. Similar to water, sewer, roads, and electricity, high speed broadband has become a vital piece of our economic development and infrastructure. Pierce County is falling badly behind in necessary broadband infrastructure and we know we’re losing business as a result. The strategies and needs for urban and rural areas will be different, but we must start identifying those needs to make progress.

In 2017 we’ll be putting the finishing touches on two funded projects in Gig Harbor. A new roundabout at Pt. Fosdick and Stone Road, and a new signal at 144th and 62nd (the entrance to Purdy Elementary and Peninsula High School). I also continue to work with our partners in city, regional, and state government to make improvements to Highway 16, 302, and Harbor Hill.

In the Community Development Committee we’ll soon be taking up a bill to protect agricultural lands, amendments to the Shoreline Management Plan, landslide and erosion areas, low impact development regulations, and more.


Public Safety Committee

Committee and External Board Assignments

I’m pleased this year to return as Chair of the Community Development Committee which oversees land use, parks, and environmental issues. I’ll also return as vice-chair of Public Safety, Human Services, and Budget. Other boards and committees I am on include:

  • National Association of Counties Health Policy Board
  • Washington State Association of Counties, Legal, Legislative, and Federal Steering Committees
  • Puget Sound Regional Council Growth Management Policy Board
  • Pierce County Regional Council
  • Alliance for a Healthy South Sound — Executive Board
  • Rainier Communications Commission
  • Zoo and Trek Authority (ZTA)
  • Tacoma Narrows Airport Advisory Commission
  • Executive Board of Crystal Judson Family Justice Center — Alternate
  • Performance Audit Committee — Alternate

For more details on these committees and boards, click here.


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