Pierce County leaders are proposing to increase the sales tax to pay for an upgraded countywide 911 dispatch agency. The new revenue would pay for two new facilities, upgraded communication hardware and a new data network. The purpose is to allow police and firefighters to more easily talk to each other.
Before putting such a proposal before the voters, those leaders need to finish the job. Explain to the voters why, with dispatch centers already operating in the county, two completely new facilities are required.
Will this project equitably benefit the entire county and its communities, and if not, why not? Are the new systems and hardware proven and cost-effective? This is not being done anywhere else on the West Coast. Is it truly forward thinking, or will it cause more problems than it solves? Exactly how much will this cost?
The improvements constitute a one-time expenditure. Why is a permanent tax increase rather than a temporary increase in revenues that would provide those funds the only option being presented?
It’s understandable that Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy is excited about the prospect of an open-ended blank check. She needs to understand that the voters are not her bank, but her employer.
Our leaders need to get us the best “bang for the buck.” When they establish credibility with the voter, to paraphrase the song, they may not get what they want, but they most likely would get what they need.