Puyallup city officials Tuesday called a timeout in their hurried effort to enact a new sales tax to fund mental health, drug and homelessness prevention programs.
The Puyallup City Council canceled an emergency special session that had been called for midday Tuesday to consider the one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax. Then the council postponed a discussion of such a tax that had been set for its regular Tuesday evening meeting.
The council had feared that the Pierce County Council would pass such a tax at its Tuesday 3 p.m. meeting, precluding Puyallup from imposing such a tax unless the City Council acted first.
But the County Council delayed any final action on the sales tax effort until mid-December. In its Tuesday afternoon session, the county body removed 2017 draft budget line items for several new employees from its preliminary budget. Those employees’ salaries were to be paid from sales tax proceeds.
Pierce County Council Chairman Doug Richardson said the council will amend that budget later to reflect the new funds to be collected if it passes the sales tax earmarked for mental health programs.
Puyallup Assistant City Manager Steve Kirkelie said the Puyallup council paused its efforts after it had been assured that the County Council would take no final action on sales tax this month.
Puyallup faced the potential loss of $2 million annually it could raise by imposing the new tax if the county acted first.
Richardson said the county and Puyallup plan to talk about who will collect the funds and how they will be divided and spent.
The county body had discussed making money for mental health and addiction prevention services available to all areas of the county to help address opioid addiction and homelessness issues.
Countywide, the tax could raise as much as $10 million annually.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663