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911: Pierce County’s padding the bill

Letter by Anders Bolang, Tacoma on Oct. 31, 2011 at 2:17 pm with 5 Comments »
October 31, 2011 2:17 pm

From the Pierce County voters’ pamphlet, one would think the 911 sales tax hike will be used only to upgrade radios. It is also about two new buildings and a lot of extra money.

The radios will cost $30 million, according to the County Council. The tax was estimated to produce $295 million, almost 10 times more. Why an extra $265 million?

The major cost is two new buildings – one for police dispatchers and one for fire/EMS. When I dig a little deeper, I find that there is a significant pay disparity between police and fire/EMS dispatchers, and no one is willing to renegotiate a single dispatch unit.

We already pay a tax for 911 services on our monthly phone bill. This tax hike is set up to create a revenue stream to support redundancy and inefficiency, perpetuated by two unions selfishly looking out for short-term gain.

LESA’s own performance auditor, Russ Russell, opposed having two buildings. His final report is on the LESA website. Russell says two dispatch centers “will not improve service levels to a significant degree and would not be cost-effective in terms of facilities, personnel and infrastructure.”

We need new radios, not new buildings. Come on, guys; Tacoma is a great city, and we have great services and pretty good infrastructure, and we citizens are willing to pay a fair price for those services. Don’t pad the bill.

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Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. I voted NO!

  2. That $295 million dollars is more likely to be $500-$600 million dollars.

    I wish every voter that wonders why someone would oppose money for 911 would watch the July 26th Pierce County Council meeting.

    In that meeting the Councilmembers openly discuss the excessive revenue that will be generated by this tax, how the voters should be aware of this fact and how that money will make its way into the general fund, for street projects or the prosecutors office.

    They voted down an ammendment that all 911 money would be spent on 911.

    They cannot justify the outrageous amount of money they are asking for. That is why they have tried to distract voters by playing on their emotions.

    At a time when we are faced with having to make massive cuts to needed and deserving programs, Prop 1 would waste hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars that could be so much better spent.

    I have also voted NO.

  3. igotdabombfool says:

    Everybody keeps saying the economy is in the crapper. The Tacoma budget fell short again. The state budget fell short again. And yet everybody is willing to except that the $265-$295 million dollars is really $500-$600 million. Sounds like the public needs to stay out of the financial department because they are just as good at it as the city is.

    And for the record, i voted no. But if it does pass, it is a sales tax, meaning they only get money when people spend money in the state.

  4. Really911 says:

    igotdabombfool, Sorry but I fail to follow your point. I am not trying to be rude, just trying to understand. I watched the July 26th council meeting where Dick Muri said the more accurate number for funds generated by prop 1 will be 500-600 million. None of the council members disputed his numbers and Dick Muri is a supporter, so doesn’t seem logical that he would inflate the numbers and help the committee against prop 1.

  5. disp911 says:

    I also voted NO and I appreciate that other citizens are not taken in by the emotional ads that the pro-Prop 1 folks are using but rather are looking at hte dollars and that it does not make sense.

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