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Builders: Don’t cut Pierce County planning staff, raise fees

Post by David Wickert on Nov. 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm with 8 Comments »
November 10, 2009 5:25 pm

Local builders oppose a plan to raise fees and cut staff at Pierce County planning and land services department.

In a letter to the County Council yesterday (here’s a copy), the Master Builders Association of Pierce County said it does not support the council’s move to cut $1.9 million from the planning department to help balance the general fund budget.

“While we certainly agree that permit activity is down at the present time, MBA cannot support increasing permit fees for fewer bodies to deliver services when activity does pick back up,” MB government affairs director Tiffany Speir wrote to council Chairman Roger Bush.

The letter indicates the association had previously agreed not to oppose planning fee increases included in County Executive Pat McCarthy’s proposed budget, as long as the council accepted McCarthy’s budget for the department.

McCarthy’s budget would eliminate 3 full-time positions from the planning department. With the $1.9 million budget cut tentatively approved Monday, the department will have to cut an additional 22 positions.

At the same time, the council already has tentatively approved various fee hikes that will raise more than $1 million for the planning department.

Planning department director Chuck Kleeberg told council members Monday cutting staff would likely result in long lines for building and other permits when the economy picks up. Builders have long complained about those lines and other problems in the planning department.

The council will finalize its 2010 budget this afternoon.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. It sounds like it is time for the MBA to throw more lobbyist money at the problem instead of addressing the issue of a down economy affecting building starts.

  2. Really??The MBA doesn’t want to cut planning fees?? OH MY GOSH I AM SO SHOCKED!! (turning sarcasm font off)

  3. ldozy1234 says:

    Since when does the MBA have anything to do with Govt. decisions… well I mean usually its behinds the scene, $$ tossing to get their way. Now its just a blatant “we run Pierce County and make the decisions here” throw down!!

    And who the heck does Speir”s thinks she is? Another of the Exec dream team? So her letter “indicates the association had previously agreed not to oppose planning fee increases included in County Executive Pat McCarthy’s proposed budget, as long as the council accepted McCarthy’s budget for the department.”
    So either bow down to MBA supported Exec’s budget or face the opposition of the MBA?
    How about when you build more, folks will be rehired- till then stuff it MBA!

  4. headedsouth says:

    Cooler heads must prevail and find a middle ground or phase the cuts with hopes the economy picks up. Please start with Planning staff that have been a pain in the a@@ and with the most complaints. YOu know who you are.

  5. jaybird77 says:

    How about all you government workers working at the pace the private sector works for once, like your job depends on it!!!

  6. A comment to Jaybird77: most county workers do work like their jobs depend on it! A lot of county workers (the younger generation) think that they deserve the jobs and work ethics are thrown out the window. Maybe those are the ones that should get laid off!
    The Planning Dept does not do anything without the MBA’s blessing. If they decide to try something new they must run it by the MBA first. If the MBA likes it then they work to impelment it. It does not matter that what they do is designed for the buildiers not the moms and pops in the county. The members of the MBA bring in more money than mom and dad do. So they just bow down to them and forget anyone else. The MBA does run a lot of the divisions inside of the Planning Dept.

  7. The Council lies. Mr. Bunney says they care about every family, the same families who have worked hard for this County for decades for low wages, diversifying as valuable employee’s for multiple Department’s when needed, only to receive layoff notice’s for this Holiday season. Cut your own pay, cut the fat at the top, or at least fairly accrossed the board, if you really cared, that is what you would do, do not lie. It is beyond the scope of bad business to cut your ability to make revenue in a timely manner, then state your concern for that very thing in the future, the only bad thing about this budget is all of it; the entire decision process which will likely have the County investigated for mis-management of our funds. Frankly, the enitre Council and County management should be fired for falling into the same trap that State management has, shortsightedness and self-interest.

  8. Mr. Bunneys 2009 salary as posted in the Tribune;

    Bunney Shawn I Councilmember-01-01-07 Nt Council $101,607.35

    There are many comparable salaries unaffected by this decision, time for more scrutiny on these salaries in the wake of this decision, this is nonsense.

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