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Tag: County Council

May
19th

Pierce County Council takes up illegal immigration issue

The Pierce County Council may weigh in on the illegal immigration debate by urging government agencies to check the legal status of their workers.

On June 1 the council will consider a resolution urging the state and local governments in Washington to adopt the federal E-Verify employment verification system to determine the legal status of potential hires. Lakewood and Pierce County already have adopted that system.

The resolution also urges the United States government to “guard the nation’s borders against unlawful alien entry” and urges governments at every level to “facilitate” federal enforcement of laws governing illegal aliens and to change laws that “through insufficient document verification or other processes, assist aliens in maintaining an unlawful presence in the United States.”

You can read the text of the resolution below.

Councilman Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, co-sponsored the measure with Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps. Both are running for higher office – Muri for Congress and Bunney for the state House of Representatives.

Muri said illegal immigration is a budget issue for Pierce County government. According to the resolution, last year the county received about $380,000 from the federal government to cover costs associated with 2,100 illegal immigrants detained at the Pierce County jail.

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May
12th

Master Builders announce Pierce County endorsements

The Master Builders Association of Pierce County today announced a list of candidates it’s endorsing for state and county offices. Among those winning the organization’s approval: Pierce County Council candidates Dan Roach (Republican, District 1) and Rick Talbert (Democrat, District 5).

The association represents more than 825 builders and other companies in the county. Because its endorsement often comes with sizable campaign contributions, the MBA is considered the 800-pound gorilla of Pierce County politics. Or has the housing slump made it the 600-pound gorilla?

Read the list of endorsements below.

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May
12th

Pierce County budget cuts coming in July?

If you’re wondering when Pierce County might see another round of budget cuts, mark July 20 on your calendar.

The County Council on Tuesday set that date to hear three ordinances related to the 2010 budget. For now the ordinances contain no specific changes to the budget. But as the date approaches the council likely will propose amendments that spell out specific cuts or other adjustments.

Last month the council and County Executive Pat McCarthy trimmed $4.9 million from the county’s $269.3 million general fund. County officials already have signaled another cut may be coming later this year

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April
26th

Another round of Pierce County budget cuts?

Pierce County’s financial situation remains tenuous even after the County Council approved a $4.9 million budget cut this month.

At a council budget meeting Monday, county budget director Patrick Kenney wouldn’t rule out another round of cuts later this year. Next year also looks tough, Kenney said.

“As of now, I wouldn’t recommend you do anything,” Kenney said when asked about the possibility of another budget cut this year. “But we need more data.”

It’s been a tough year for Pierce County’s budget. After a series of budget cuts last year, the council this month cut another $4.9 million from the county’s $269.3 million general fund budget. That will mean cuts to popular programs like 4-H and staff cuts in some departments.

But the county’s latest financial report shows that wasn’t enough to bridge a projected $5.6 million the gap between budgeted spending and shrinking county revenue.

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April
26th

Pierce County Council to meet in Frederickson Tuesday

The Pierce County Council will meet in Frederickson Tuesday, the first of seven meetings to be held in the various council districts this year.

The council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the county’s Central Maintenance Facility, 4812 196th St. E, Frederickson. The meeting in council District 3 will be in lieu of the council’s regular 3 p.m. meeting at the County-City Building.

The council meets once a year in each of the seven council districts. District meetings also are scheduled for May 4 in Puyallup (District 2), May 18 in Parkland (District 5), June 1 in Lakewood (District

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April
20th

Pierce County Council set to restore Superior Court seat

Update: The council unanimously – and without comment – reinstated the Superior Court seat this afternoon.

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The Pierce County Council this afternoon is scheduled to formally reinstate the Superior Court it eliminated last November.

The council voted unanimously to eliminate the seat formerly held by Judge Michael Hecht. The move came just a day after Hecht announced his resignation. He previously was convicted of felony harassment and paying a man for sex.

The council cited the need for budget flexibility as it tried to balance the 2010 budget. It claimed state law gave it the discretion to determine

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April
6th

Pierce County Council, exec at odds – again

If you needed more evidence that relations between the Pierce County Council and County Executive Pat McCarthy remain strained, look no further than Monday’s council rules committee meeting.

Pat McCarthy

McCarthy accused the council of springing major budget cuts on the public at the last minute. Council Chairman Roger Bush, R-Graham, accuse the Democratic executive of ignoring council requests for information. The executive walked out of the meeting during the chairman’s remarks.

It was like 2009 all over again.

As I reported in December, the executive and council were at odds for much of last year. Monday’s rules committee meeting indicates relations remain strained despite pledges of cooperation.

At the meeting, McCarthy complained that the council unveiled a proposed $5.3 million cut to the general fund budget on the Friday before Easter without consulting her. And she noted the version considered by the rules committee Monday was different than the version released Friday.

McCarthy has complained several times that the council works in secret, unveiling substantive budget and other proposals at the last minute. She’s said that gives the public and county officials little or no time to review the proposals before the council adopts them.

On Monday she used the word “subterfuge” to describe the council’s handling of the budget cuts. She urged the council to wait a week to give the public a chance to review the cuts.

“I don’t see what the rush is to move forward,” McCarthy said.

Nonetheless, the council appears ready to move forward with the budget cuts today. Bush indicated there will be more last-minute amendments unveiled at the council’s 3 p.m. meeting.

Bush took exception to McCarthy’s remarks. “I don’t think this council has ever used subterfuge,” the chairman said.

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April
5th

Pierce council may trim budget $5.4 million

The Pierce County Council may trim spending by $5.4 million as the county wrestles with declining revenue.

The council also may freeze county hiring, ban most out-of-state travel and eliminate non-mandatory training to help balance the budget.

The proposal likely would mean layoffs in the planning department and cuts to such programs as 4-H and the Pierce County Fair. But spending on law enforcement and corrections would be spared under a plan approved by the council’s rules committee Monday. The full council will consider the measure Tuesday.

“It’s simply hard choices on top of hard choices,” council Chairman Roger Bush, R-Graham, said

Roger Bush

at Monday’s committee meeting.

It’s been a year of hard choices for Pierce County.

The council twice reduced spending in 2009. In November it approved a $793 million 2010 budget that was 7 percent lower than the 2009 budget approved a year earlier.

The council cut more than 300 jobs, raised fees and eliminated services at 16 parks to balance this year’s spending plan. But it apparently wasn’t enough.

The latest revenue figures show sales tax receipts and planning department fees and charges.

Exactly how much they’re down is a subject of debate between the County Council and County Executive Pat McCarthy.

McCarthy has proposed a plan to cover a projected $4.1 million revenue shortfall in the county’s $269.3 million general fund.

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