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Posted on: November 18, 2021

Pierce County 2022-2023 Budget nears completion

Following a lengthy meeting Nov. 16, the proposed Pierce County 2022-2023 Biennial Budget is one step closer to final adoption.

During the meeting Council reviewed 21 ordinances related to the budget and fees. Of these, 15 were approved and six were continued to Council’s Nov. 23 meeting for final consideration. Council is expected to take final action on the biennial budget at that meeting.

Approved ordinances set fees for the coming biennium including park and school impact fees, parks and recreation service fees, development review, inspection and application/processing fees and set the lease rates and rental fees for Pierce County’s airports.

Council also adopted an ordinance that set new fare rates for the Pierce County Ferry System.

The amounts of the increase vary by season (peak and non-peak) and type of ticket purchased (single use vs. value pack). Unlike the initial fare increase of 15.5% annually proposed by the Executive, Council adopted an increase generally in line with the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area from February 2016 to April 2021.

The overall effective rate of the increase is 8.9% in 2022 and 6.2% in 2023. This is the first ferry fare increase since 2016.

Continued items included the Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program and 14-year Ferry Program. These plans identify and outline future road projects throughout the county and long-range maintenance and capital improvements for the ferry system. By law they are required to be updated annually.

The proposed capital facilities plan was also bumped for final approval at Tuesday’s meeting, but not before changes were made. They included adding funding for a retrofit to a stormwater outfall at Lake Tapps to improve water quality, prioritizing an assessment of facility needs of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, increasing funding to support the Key Peninsula and PenMet parks departments and providing funding for construction of the Buckley Forestland Preserve public access in 2022.

Council will review the six continued ordinances, plus any additional amendments, at its 3 p.m. meeting Nov. 23 before taking final action to adopt the budget.

Public can comment on the proposed document before adoption the following ways:

  • Written comment
  • In-person attendance testimony
  • Virtual attendance testimony

Attend Pierce County Council meetings in person in Council Chambers (Room 1046), 930 Tacoma Ave. South in Tacoma, or through remote access. Details on how to attend remotely are listed on meeting agendas. Follow these instructions to provide public comment if attending virtually.

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