Letters to the Editor

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911: Proposition 1 is an unnecessary tax

Letter by Lara Gavre, Puyallup on Sep. 12, 2011 at 9:08 am with 5 Comments »
September 12, 2011 11:08 am

Proposition 1, “South Sound 911″ is an example of unnecessary overtaxation. Pierce County is using the federal mandate to upgrade radio systems to justify asking for a sales tax increase that is overly excessive.

For years Pierce County has known of this looming requirement. For years it has failed to place a high priority on upgrading its radios. Now it doesn’t just want us to pay for its lack of planning but also wants us to give the county enough money to overhaul the entire 911 system.

The county implies our safety is at risk if we reject this plan, but what we’re not told is that Proposition 1 is a huge moneymaker for Pierce County. It will generate hundreds of million dollars in excess of what is needed to meet the federal mandate. It allows for the overhaul of a 911 system that is not broken.

Proposition 1 will not improve the way our 911 needs are currently met and will, in many instances, reduce our current level of service. It forces consolidation into a system run by Pierce County, forcing all cities to contract with Pierce County for their 911 services. There are much more efficient options for consolidation.

Proposition 1 is not supported by all police and fire agencies in Pierce County. This is a very good reason to look closely at what Pierce County is proposing.

Pierce County radios need to be fixed; 911 does not.

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Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. I doubt Lara is a true expert on emergency communications. Her letter should be regarded in that light.

  2. Really911 says:

    Actually Publico, you are incorrect about Lara.

    But you don’t have to be an expert in emergency communications to know this is a case of Over taxation. You only have to do the math. Watch the Pierce County Council meeting from July 26th. They admit here and at other meetings, that this will generate more than 295 million dollars over 25 years, and there is going to be 78-80 million dollars more than they need even after maintainence of the new radio system and communication centers. This figure is not accounting for inflation or population growth. Councilman Muri even states that it is really more like 500-600 million. Dan Roach is very concerned that the public be aware that there will be 78-80 million dollars that the public thinks is going to 911 but will really be leaked into the general fund, and will be used for pot holes in the roads, the arts, the prosecutors office and anything else that they want to use it for, under the disguise of 911 funding.
    You will see when the ballots come out, the supporters try to imply that the mandate is for radios and communications centers. This is absolutely false. The mandate is for RADIO UPGRADES only. Washington State Patrol came out a few weeks ago and said publicly that they are going to upgrade their radio system to meet the federal mandate for the cost of 40.1 million. State Patrol has troopers over the entire state. County Council says the radio upgrade alone will cost 30 million. Why are we then being asked for 295 million. The ballot supporters are also going to tell you that somehow this OVER TAXATION is going to improve the service to the public. This plan in fact will decrease service in some areas of Pierce County. Some cities have expressed concern that they will not be able to afford this. There are undetermined fees, which are “calls for service” fees. Which have yet to be determined or disclosed. How can a small city like Orting or Roy know how to budget , when they dont know what the numbers are. The supporters will also tell you that this is supported by law enforcement and fire fighters. This is false, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue Executive Board voted just before the July 26th Pierce County Council meeting, not to support this plan. City of Puyallup clearly does not support this. Other cities have serious questions about this plan that continue to go unanswered.
    Plese again go on line and watch the July 26th County Council meeting, it is very enlightening.

    And then Vote NO on Prop 1

  3. rainiersnow says:

    First to Pubico, Lara’s letter was well written and brought many points to light. I don’t believe you are in a position to cast a shadow on her statement. Having researched her statements, they appear to be accurate. I have also researched Really 911’s statements, those too are accurate. If you doubt these people, contact Dan Roach yourself reference the tax, read the newspaper reference WSP updating their radios for a fraction of what the county is asking for.
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    . I agree the $outh $ound tax is an overtax by the county for them to obtain funding for other projects. I watched the council meeting and am taking away the same information as Really 911.
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    I have also listened to Pat McCarthy, who states it is only 1 penny. This is a difficult time for people, people are living in their cars and unemployed. A penny is a lot when you add it up to people who are struggling to make ends meet.
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    We the people need to be watchdogs over what the county does with our money. Let’s start questioning where the federal funding went the county received, where the money you already pay on your cell phone and land line goes once county receives it and who is going to be in charge of the funds? The same people who in charge now?.
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    I live in Pierce County, not one of the cities mentioned. It is not right for Pierce County to tax those people for the County spending their money wisely. I would be for this tax if it was only for the radios but this is a kingdom the County wants to reign.
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    My VOTE is NO ONE $OUTH $OUND 911 as it is written, just like several FIRST RESPONDERS I know who are also VOTING NO

  4. Educator1 says:

    Personal Opinion: As a fire commissioner I ask for a NO vote on this proposal. Why? 1. No budget information, 2. We will be taxed 500 million for a 25 million dollar project. 3. We will have an increased charge for each call we receive (they will not say how much) which will be passed onto the citizens. This is in addition to what we are already paying. 4. They want to remove our uniformed officers from dispatch. 5. They want to close Puyallup dispatch center. 6. No reimbursment of the millions spent by Puyallup, Central Pierce and others that have upgraded. 7. Motorolla has a new contract with county to maintain their radios and upgrades. (contract less than 1 month old). so this is a lie that they will not maintain their radios.

  5. Really911 says:

    Thank You Educator1, I think it is very tellingto the public that a fire commissioner is against this. Pierce County is just asking for way too much money to do what they could do for 30-35 million..And if this passes, in 25 years (at the sunset clause) Pierce county will come back and say “we want to renew the 1/10 of 1 percent sales tax, its not a new tax , its a tax the citizens are already paying, we just want to renew it so we can build new buildings” because in 25 years, these new buildings will not be new any more, they will have lived their life expectancy. And Pierce County is not going to be able to give up this cash cow.

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