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Posted on: September 19, 2023

Dammeier proposes new biennial budget focusing on public safety and justice

$3 billion+ budget guided by community input

Executive Bruce Dammeier presented his proposed 2024-2025 biennial budget to the Pierce County Council today. The more than $3 billion budget is based on community input and prioritizes funding for public safety and justice, transportation and roads, homelessness and attainable housing, economic opportunity, and sustainability.

Most of the County’s budget is dedicated to keeping residents safe, equitably administering criminal justice, and staying accountable to County residents. Consequently, the proposed 2024-2025 biennial budget includes support for law enforcement, Corrections, the Prosecutor’s Office, and Assigned Counsel to address rising crime levels and to promote equitable justice.

“Our region and our nation have witnessed an alarming rise in lawlessness. We must hold criminals accountable,” said Dammeier. “We’ve allocated several million in ARPA funds to move criminal cases more quickly through the courts. At the same time, recruiting, retaining, equipping, and training our Sheriff’s deputies will remain a high priority in the new biennium. Our efforts are showing results, but we can’t let up now.”

In the new budget, the Executive proposes making significant investments in Human Services to improve the lives of County residents. The department will realize a substantial increase in resources due to additional funding from state and federal grants as well as new taxes levied by the County Council. 

“It is critical that we wisely use the funds provided by our residents to address the challenges we see daily – homelessness, untreated mental illness, and youth violence,” added Dammeier.

Reflecting residents’ responses to a survey issued earlier this summer, the biennial budget also includes funds to support safer roads and transportation infrastructure. The proposed budget allocates money for the Safe Routes to School initiative as well as a variety of active transportation improvements, including 25 miles of sidewalks, 364 crosswalks and six miles of dedicated bike lanes.  The budget also includes funds for critical infrastructure connections, like completing SR-167 and the Canyon Road Connector, as well as the County’s ferry system.

An increased emphasis on cleaning up nuisance properties, encampments and drug houses will be augmented with a new community restoration and clean up initiative. This effort leverages new technology and partnerships with other local governments in the state.

The construction of a shared housing village in the Parkland-Spanaway area will allow more than 200 chronically homeless people to live in a secure, dignified community with employment, healthcare, and stability. The village will be operated by the Tacoma Rescue Mission and funded by a combination of local, state, and federal money as well as private philanthropy. It is modeled after the highly successful Community First! Village in Austin, Texas.

The County will receive nearly $50 million from the landmark opioid legal settlement in Washington state. Those funds will be focused on drug treatment and recovery programs for residents.

The launch of the Blue Zones wellness transformation project in the Parkland-Spanaway area will guide residents toward practical lifestyle changes that can lead to longevity and health. This is a partnership with healthcare providers and the community.

Several initiatives have been proposed in the biennial budget to advance the County’s work to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive region. Programs include the continuation of the nationally recognized small business accelerator focused on business owners from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities as well as women and veterans.  

This budget builds on the fiscal discipline and transparency that resulted in the recent upgrade to the County’s credit rating by Moody’s to AAA. It continues to look out 10 years to ensure stability for both our residents and employees.

The full budget document and an abbreviated executive summary may be found here.  

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Libby Catalinich, Director, Communications
(253) 798-6606
[email protected]

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