Council Schedule Highlights Week of July 17th, 2017

Monday, JULY 17th, 2017

10:00am Rules Committee

Douglas G. Richardson, Chair 
Rick Talbert, Vice Chair 
Dan Roach, Executive Pro Tempore

Regularly scheduled meetings are broadcast live and replayed on channel 22 (Comcast and Click! Network) and on channel 20 (Rainier Connect). Meeting materials and video can be accessed

Proposal №2017–38, Charter Amendment — Term Limit for Councilmembers An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Proposing Amendments to Section 4.90 of the Pierce County Charter to Set the Limit on Terms for County Councilmembers to Three Consecutive 4-Year Terms; Requesting the Auditor to Submit these Amendments to the Voters at the November 2017 General Election; and Requesting the Prosecuting Attorney to Draft an Appropriate Ballot Title.

Sponsored by: Councilmember Douglas G. Richardson

I’m no fan of term limits, as evidenced by my four terms on the Gig Harbor City Council. However, I will not be supporting this proposed charter amendment.

Just last year the Charter Review Commission had the opportunity to consider term limits and did not forward a recommendation. (Correction: A previous version said that Commissioner Olson had proposed changing Council term limits. That was in error.)

Further, this issue was on the ballot in 2009. It was soundly defeated, winning in only in District 7. We used to joke that it was the Terry Lee referendum because a lot of people like me thought he was doing a great job and wanted to give him the chance to continue.

There is a case to be made in favor of the proposal, so I understand why the Chair is bringing this proposal forward.

  1. Since the 2009 ballot, voters overwhelmingly approved the Assessor, Auditor, and Sheriff going to three terms. It’s possible that voters didn’t like the ballot language that also changed to off-year elections.
  2. Pierce County has the shortest term limits in the state. Only two other counties have term limits, both limit to three four year terms.
  3. It promotes short-range thinking. Our council has historically had a bad habit of leaving difficult issues for their successors. Whether it’s dealing with state mandates or deferred maintenance, councilmembers who know they won’t be around to deal with the problem have an incentive towards inaction.
  4. I think it tends to protect incumbents. With only one re-election opportunity, serious challengers have tended to wait for the seat that comes open four years later. If you look at Council elections since adoption of the Charter, very few have been unseated, but that’s mostly because very few have been challenged. That calculus changes with potential for three terms.

If the proposal is forwarded by the Rules Committee to the full Council, it would require five votes in favor on July 25th.

1:30pm Community Development Committee

Derek Young, Chair
Douglas G. Richardson, Vice Chair
Rick Talbert
Jim McCune
Pam Roach

This meeting will be broadcast live and replayed on channel 22 (Comcast and Click! Network) and on channel 20 (Rainier Connect). Electronic meeting material can be accessed at Video archives are available at

Planning and Land Services Quarterly Report 
Presenter: Dennis Hanberg, Director, Planning and Public Works

Our regular report from the Department. I’m particularly interested to see if permit activity is continuing to spike, and how the consolidation with Public Works is going now that we’re nearing the half-year mark.

Ordinance №2017–42, Chambers Creek Regional Park Master Site Plan Update, 2017 An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Repealing Ordinance №2006–139, “Chambers Creek Properties Master Site Plan Update, 2007,” and Adopting the “Chambers Creek Regional Park Master Site Plan Update, 2017”; Initiating Any Amendment Actions to County Plans and Codes and Proposing Any Amendment Actions to the Cities’ Plans and Codes, Which May Be Necessary to Enable Implementation of the Master Site Plan; and Commending the Members of the Resource Team and Management Team for Their Dedication in Developing the Master Site Plan Update.

Sponsored by: Councilmembers Connie Ladenburg and Douglas G. Richardson

This master plan update follows extensive public outreach to find out what people want to see on the site. The plan has also been approved by the University Place and Lakewood Councils.

Here’s the PCTV story:

Ordinance №2017–43, 2017 Comprehensive Plan — Implementing Regulations An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Adopting Amendments to Title 18A of the Pierce County Code, “Development Regulations — Zoning,” and the Pierce County Zoning Atlas to Implement the 2017 Amendments to the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan; Adopting Findings of Fact; and Setting an Effective Date.

Sponsored by: Councilmember Derek Young

While the Comprehensive Plan establishes policy, we must create regulations that implement those policies. That’s what this ordinance does.

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

9:30am Transportation Benefit District Board of Governors

Douglas G. Richardson, Chair
Connie Ladenburg, Vice Chair
Dan Roach
Pam Roach
Jim McCune
Rick Talbert
Derek Young

It looks like the entire agenda is an update from the Transportation Advisory Commission’s progress.

3:00pm County Council Meeting

Council meetings are audio recorded and cablecast from gavel to gavel. Meetings are broadcast live and replayed beginning the next day on channel 22 (Comcast and Click! Network) and on channel 20 (Rainier Connect). Video archives are available at Audio equipment is available for the hearing impaired. Please contact the receptionist for assistance.

Proposal №2017–30, Annual Road Program, Six-Year Road Program and the Fourteen-Year Ferry Program An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Amending the 2017–2022 Transportation Improvement Program and 2017–2030 Fourteen-Year Ferry Program (Plan) Previously Adopted Pursuant to Ordinance №2016–62s, and Passed on November 15, 2016, in Accordance With Revised Code of Washington Sections 36.81.121, 36.81.122, 36.81.130, and 36.54.015, and Washington Administrative Code 136, Chapters 15 and 16; Finding that Each Project Contained in the Plan is a Public Necessity; and Adopting Findings of Fact.

Sponsored by: Councilmembers Douglas G. Richardson and Dan Roach

The amendments to the program are mostly safety related improvements in the eastern part of the county. District 7 has a new spot location at Whiteman Rd & Whiteman Cove Rd on the Key Peninsula.

Proposal №2017–35, Charter Amendment — Filling Vacancies in Nonpartisan Offices An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Proposing Amendments to Section 4.70 of the Pierce County Charter, “Vacancies,” to Establish Procedures for Filling Vacancies in Nonpartisan Elective Offices; Requesting the Auditor to Submit these Amendments to the Voters at the November 2017 General Election; and Requesting the Prosecuting Attorney to Draft an Appropriate Ballot Title.

Sponsored by: Councilmembers Douglas G. Richardson and Derek Young

This issue was brought up by the County Auditor, Julie Anderson, during the Charter Review Commission’s process. It turns out that we have a process, outlined by state law, that directs appointment for partisan office, but we don’t have one for nonpartisan office. Although it was felt that this was an issue worthy of decision by the voters, there was a concern over the number of issues piling up on last November’s crowded ballot.

This amendment would make clear that in case of a vacancy, the Council will also make the appointment for non-partisan offices. Only the Auditor, Assessor, Sheriff are affected unless voters also approve the amendment below adding the Prosecutor to that list.

Proposal №2017–36, Charter Amendment — Nonpartisan Prosecutor An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Proposing an Amendment to Section 4.10 of the Pierce County Charter, “Election Procedures,” to Make the Prosecuting Attorney a Nonpartisan Office; Requesting the Auditor to Submit this Amendment to the Voters at the November 2017 General Election; and Requesting the Prosecuting Attorney to Draft an Appropriate Ballot Title.

Sponsored by: Councilmember Douglas G. Richardson

After talking with a number of folks, including Prosecutor Lindquist, I’m going to support sending this measure to voters. This issue likely would have come up earlier with the other independently elected executive positions, but many felt at the time that we were hamstrung by the State Constitution.

Unlike many many other offices provided for in the Charter, the Prosecutor is a constitutional officer. It’s also why that position isn’t subject to term limits. However, an Attorney General Opinion from 2015 says that changing the position to non-partisan doesn’t rise to an unconstitutional impingement.

We acknowledge that a candidate’s indication of a party preference may affect how the candidates campaign and how voters perceive the candidates. But, it does not rise to the level of affecting the election because there is so little difference in how elections are conducted for partisan and nonpartisan offices under the top-two primary system. This is largely because, in Washington, the primary is not used to choose party nominees. “The top two candidates from the primary election proceed to the general election regardless of their party preferences.” Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party, 552 U.S. 442, 453 (2008).

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

9:30am Flood Control Zone District Executive Committee

Rick Talbert, Chair
Dan Roach, Vice Chair
Derek Young

Resolution to Establish a Fund Balance Policy

Now that the District has established a healthy balance of working capital, I’ve recommended that we establish two distinct reserves.

The first is the normal ending fund balance used to make sure local governments can fund day-to-day operations with uneven cash flow and weather recessions.

The second would be a strategic reserve that allows for funding of unbudgeted opportunities or emergencies. This reserve would need to be replenished within a specified time period (I’ve suggested 3 years). I’d also like to see us establish a match from the partner agency. It’s a safe bet that if they’re unwilling to put up their own cash, that it’s not really an emergency. We’ll have to establish a policy for the times when the County is the partner agency since the County Council and FCZD Board are the same people.

2018 Budget Development Assumptions and Guidance

Hard as it may be to believe, we’re already starting to work on 2018 budgets. One main discussion point that I discovered in my first year on the Board is that flood control districts were somehow exempt from the 1% property tax cap. As a result, the FCZD’s practice was to leave the rate at 10 cents per $1,000 in valuation. As property values rapidly climbed out of Great Recession lows, this was resulting in large percentage increases for the district. I was successful putting the cap into place last year and that will be something we discuss each budget going forward.

My Weekly Calendar

Earlier this year we got a request for my forward looking calendar. Rather than have staff waste their time on public record requests, I’m just going to start publishing screen shots. Keep in mind, my schedule isn’t static. Things will get added, deleted, changed, etc. There are conflicts that I have to pick between. But if people want to see where I’m at and who I meet with, that’s fine by me.