County executive heralds ‘Pierce County way’ during address
Touting the “Pierce County way,” County Executive Bruce Dammeier proposed several initiatives in the coming year in his State of the County address.
In a speech delivered Wednesday at the Pierce County Council meeting, Dammeier described how work on housing, jobs and health, among others, are coming together through a “clear vision, strong partnerships and finding a way to get to yes.”
Among the highlights:
“Simply put, we need both more housing and more types of housing,” Dammeier said.
Part of that initiative includes working with the private sector and exploring “targeted fee waivers and density incentives to encourage builders to produce more attainable housing where it makes sense,” he said.
Echoing a similar push in Tacoma, Dammeier said, “We’ll also look to improve our policies on accessory dwelling units and other alternative housing.”
Tacoma’s City Council on Tuesday approved new accessory dwelling unit rules to reduce the barriers in building new ones and to help bring existing ones into permit compliance.
Dammeier lauded a $275 tax credit to companies for each family wage job created and an upcoming proposed ordinance to reduce business fees related to new sewer connections.
He also commended expansions made by AIM Aerospace in Sumner, Tool Gauge in Tacoma and Carlson Paving Products in Frederickson, along with Best Buy’s move to Frederickson that brought 50 full-time jobs.
“We know you’ll love it here,” Dammeier said to a company representative in attendance. “And be sure and tell your friends.”
He also mentioned San Diego-based ScaleMetrix’s presence at the Centeris campus in Puyallup.
“They are one of those companies that provide the infrastructure for other tech businesses to thrive,” he said. “And when we bolster our emerging tech cluster, we give the graduates of UW Tacoma’s new School of Engineering and Technology, and the entrepreneurs connected to the RAIN incubator (in Tacoma) the chance to stay right here and grow with the South Sound.”
Two new pieces of the “Open Pierce County” initiative will roll out soon, Dammeier said.
“Soon, you will be able to look into the county’s ‘checkbook’ and see specifically where your tax dollars are going. You will also be able to use our Capital Projects Explorer to see if our construction projects are on schedule and on budget.”
Dammeier also touted:
▪ The opening this summer of a new inpatient site for pregnant women fighting addiction through Good Samaritan hospital in Puyallup.
▪ A partnership with the Cohen Veterans Network to bring a new mental health clinic for post-9/11 veterans and their families to Pierce County. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities, 6103 Mount Tacoma Dr. SW in Lakewood, will host a grand opening celebration Friday. It is the first clinic of its kind in the state.
▪ The grand opening Thursday of Coffee Oasis in Tacoma, 6602 S. Alaska St., “part coffee shop, part shelter and part education and job training program for homeless and at-risk youth.”
▪ A charter amendment being proposed by Prosecutor Mary Robnett and himself to make the prosecuting attorney position nonpartisan.
“Justice should be blind, but it shouldn’t be blinded by partisan politics,” he said.
▪ Another measure Robnett and he are submitting that would strengthen penalties for domestic violence witnessed by children.
“Just seeing such acts traumatizes children and can perpetuate the cycle of violence. This is unacceptable,” he said.
▪ Extending the Foothill Trails to the White River in partnership with King County.
▪ Plans to create a resort and boost the trails system at Chambers Creek Regional Park.
▪ Seeking funds to “open more than 13 miles of fish habitat for Coho salmon, steelhead, trout and more.”
▪ Improving the wastewater treatment plant and reducing emissions.
“By the end of this year, we project to use 63 percent of the bio-gas we produce, dramatically reducing the amount we burn.”
▪ Fueling local ferries with biodiesel, gaining a 16 percent reduction in carbon emissions, and hoping to partner with the state to convert the ferries to hybrid electric.
And, the new attraction that might draw the most attention when it opens next month, ice bumper cars at Sprinker Recreation Center.
“I can think of a few folks I’d love to challenge” to a bumper car duel, he said.
You can watch a rebroadcast of the address at https://bit.ly/2JtN2KQ