The Pierce County Village and Seeking input on a Pierce County Health Department proposal
If the rest of 2023 is anything like the first week, be ready for a deluge of information throughout the year. I shall start with communicating a bit about the Pierce County Village. We are of course receiving a great deal of correspondence, pro and con, as well as some incorrect assumptions. The meeting Tuesday evening at Sprinker was rather lively. I stayed until 11 pm. You can view it on-line here if you are interested.
The Pierce County Village is a project requested by the Executive’s office to address the chronic homeless population. Our nation has an epidemic of folks without homes for various causes. This project is one piece of the puzzle intended to address the problem.
The Pierce County Village concept was partially funded in the 2022/23 biennial budget (2021-100s2) in the amount of just over $22 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Any additionally needed funding is the responsibility of The Tacoma Rescue Mission. The County funding is to be released upon receipt of a proposal and then passed by the council, R2022-163. Four affirmative votes are required. Because the plan’s location was in my district, I believed it to be my responsibility to sponsor the resolution to bring it forth for public engagement. No final date for voting on the proposal has been set. More public engagement is needed.
Concerns regarding the wetlands on the property have been expressed, and rightly so. An environmental technical webinar to focus on environmental compliance and the recent wetlands delineation survey and soil study of the Spanaway Loop Rd. site is scheduled for Monday, January 9 at 7 p.m. It will not be addressing village operations or public safety related issues. Click here to join. Note that it has been determined that no septics will be part of the plan. The sewer is to be brought in.
We all know the Village concept will not solve the chronic homeless problem, but it can be part of a solution. Agreement on that part of the plan was expressed at the open house. Also expressed was support for our public safety officers. Some comments were made that gave the impression the County has authority over the Sheriff’s Department. Policing authority is legislated by the state. The state needs to make drugs illegal again and pass legislation to let our deputies do what they were trained and love to do…protect us from the lawless. We all know this state has a drug and soft-on-crime philosophy. That needs to change!
Housing costs are out of control. The state needs to rethink its new energy codes, which now add thousands of dollars to the cost of building a home with little, if any, return on the investment, unless you’re the manufacturer who now has guaranteed customers.
I have asked others familiar with the County’s real estate landscape to brainstorm on alternative locations. State requirements that it be inside the UGA make it difficult to site. Once again, only the state can make a change in that rule. I am the representative for the 3rd Council District and not the other six. I am in a listening mode for this issue and particularly interested in the input from my constituents. Knowing your positions on the aspects of the village concept and location are most important to me as we navigate this proposal.
ON ANOTHER SUBJECT— Our Independent Public Health Department
Recently (January 4), I viewed the study session of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and was a bit puzzled by a presentation. I would very much appreciate your feedback. It was difficult…no, impossible, for me to connect the presentation, Surplus Land Policy, to the role of public health. You can view the meeting here. Remember, you can adjust the playback speed by clicking on the gear icon to save time.
Grateful for you!