The Supplemental Budget Explained

County Council votes on the supplemental budget today. This is where the money is coming from and where it will go.

You just passed a budget in November, where did all this money come from?

While most county revenue sources are relatively stable and predictable, forecasting sales tax is a bit of an art and it’s good to be conservative. As a result, actual receipts are considerably higher than expected giving us more operating revenue. Additionally, ending fund balance is also healthier than expected due to higher than expected receipts for the last quarter of 2016.

What are you spending it on?

For a complete look at the bill as it stands and the proposed amendments, head over to the Council page. Here’s a brief rundown.

Behavioral health investments

We’re making investments in three different mobile approaches to treating people with behavioral health problems:

  1. Mobile Intervention Response Team (MIRT) This is a new trial based on Bexar County (San Antonio) Texas. It’s a proactive unit with nurses, mental health treatment providers, and social workers who will visit people in need where they are. This is intensive, difficult work and takes time to build trust with patients, but if successful, we can transition people suffering from serious chronic behavioral health problems to more traditional treatment. There’s $410k in the budget for this proof of concept.
  2. Mobile Outreach Crisis Teams (MOCT) This is an existing program operated on contract through Pierce County’s Behavioral Health Organization (Optum). It’s designed to be an emergency response that citizens and agencies can call in case of a behavioral health crisis. Unfortunately its funding from the State has slid over the years so they’re unable to reach a lot of cases in a timely fashion. We’re proposing that $500k to plus that up that program and try to make it more reliable. It’s also an opportunity to test its effectiveness.
  3. Coresponders In addition to the above approaches, Councilmember Ladenburg is proposing that we contract for two behavioral health providers that are specially trained in deescalation and conflict resolution. They’re assigned to respond to calls with law enforcement. This is a model that’s been successful in cities like Tacoma and Lakewood.

While there’s no acquisition funds as originally proposed by the Executive, we have committed $100k to locating and initial commitment for a locate a 16 bed diversion center. Currently, when first responders or family members need a place to take people in crisis, they end up in far more expensive, ineffective, and overcrowded ER’s and jails.

Finally, there is $1 million appropriation, joining Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and other cities and private contributors, to support construction of the new psychiatric hospital led by MultiCare and CHI-Fransiscan. In return, the hospital will provide crisis stabilization, inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization for Pierce County citizens.

Public Safety
Over the last two years we’ve added 10 new Sheriff Deputy FTE’s. Unfortunately we still have inadequate coverage in rural areas like the peninsulas. I’ve sponsored an amendment with Councilmembers McCune and Roach for 3 additional deputies which will be deployed in the Peninsula, Mountain, and Foothills detachments.

Due to new State requirements to get more timely behavioral health evaluations for inmates, we’re budgeting for a $164k increase Correction Bureau budget for transports to Yakima and Maple Lane for behavioral health evaluations.

There’s also a carryover from the previous budget for $ $1.1 million in safety improvements for the jail.

Economic Development
The Economic Development Department has been stretched for a long time. Adding another position will cost $160k but hopefully deliver far more return in recruitment and retention.

Combining Planning and Public Works will have a number of organizational benefits, but permitting is the place where we think there’s opportunity for dramatically improving the process. Right now, development permits can require working with Building, Health Department, and Public Works. With a $1,612,000 capital investment at the Annex, we can site those permit officials together.

Nuisance Property Abatement

Tackling the problem of nuisance homes has been a constant problem for Pierce County for many years. We’ve already hired additional staff for code enforcement and given them additional authority. We’ll also considering additional authority for the Prosecutor under criminal nuisance statute. To back all up we’re moving an additional $138k to the abatement fund.

There are other additions and changes in this supplemental but those are the highlights. If you want to see what the omnibus amendment 1A looks like in spreadsheet form, here you go.

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