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Tag: County Council


Pierce County to borrow $24.3 million for road projects

Pierce County is preparing to borrow $24.3 million to pay for road construction in Frederickson and the Gig Harbor area.

The County Council’s rules committee approved plans to borrow the money on Monday. The full council is expected to follow suit next month.

The county plans to borrow the money to pay for several projects:

• Widening 176th Street East to five lanes from Waller Road to 51st Avenue East.

• Widening Canyon Road to six lanes from 172nd Street East to 160th Street East.

• Widening Wollochet Drive Northwest to up to five lanes from 40th Street Northwest to East Bay Drive Northwest.

• Replacing the 176th Street bridge over the railroad tracks between 51st and Canyon.

• The county also will use some of the money for engineering and right of way acquisition costs for widening 176th from Waller Road to B Street.

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Bonney Lake official will run for Pierce County Council

A Bonney Lake City Council member has announced he will run for the Pierce County Council.

James Rackley says he’ll run for the District 1 seat currently held by Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps. Bunney is running for the state House of Representatives.

Rackley is a Republican but will run as a nonpartisan candidate for the partisan County Council. He cited “the current political turmoil in the Republican and Democratic parties.”

“I have been a Republican my entire adult life but under the current circumstances I wish not to be involved in party politics,” Rackley said in a press release announcing his candidacy.

Rackley is the third candidate to announce for Bunney’s council seat. Also running are state Rep. Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, and Pat McElligott, a Democrat and former Tacoma firefighters union president.

Rackley is a retired accountant and office/human resource manager. He has served on the Bonney Lake City Council since 2000.

You can read Rackley’s announcement below.

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Pierce County faces $6 million budget hole

Pierce County faces a $6 million budget hole as the worst recession in decades continues to take a toll on county revenue.

County Executive Pat McCarthy has directed most general fund departments to cut spending 1 percent to partially fill the budget gap. The county also might rely on fund balances and other savings to balance the budget.

But bigger spending cuts may be needed.

“The sooner you do it, the less dramatic it has to be,” budget director Pat Kenney told the County Council at a study session this afternoon.

It’s the latest bad budget news for a county that has seen plenty in the last year.

In 2009 the county endured several rounds of budget cuts. Most recently, the council in November approved a $793 million 2010 budget that cut more than 300 jobs, raised fees and eliminated services at 16 parks.

This year’s budget is already 7 percent smaller than the original 2009 spending plan. Now it likely will be reduced further.

In a memo to department heads and elected officials last week, Kenney directed most general fund departments to cut 1 percent from their budgets. The general fund covers basic county services like law enforcement, courts, and elections.

The sheriff’s department – a top priority for elected officials – has not been asked to cut its budget. But McCarthy told the council that may change as the county’s financial situation becomes clearer.

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Exec orders 1 percent cut to Pierce County budget

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has ordered a 1 percent across-the-board spending cut as the worst recession in decades continues to take a toll on county revenue.

McCarthy’s budget director, Pat Kenney, ordered the cut in general fund departments in a memo to department heads and elected officials Thursday. Kenney said “the impact of the recession upon our revenues (development activity, sales tax, police service contracts, etc.) is still quite negative.”

The move follows a series or spending cuts in 2009. And McCarthy isn’t ruling out more cuts later this year.

You can download a PDF copy of Kenney’s memo

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Pierce County Council committee votes to restore Superior Court seat

The Pierce County Council’s rules committee this morning approved a measure repealing an ordinance eliminating the Superior Court seat vacated by Judge Michael Hecht.

The committee voted 3-0 to repeal the measure, without comment. The full council must still take action.

Last November the council approved an emergency ordinance eliminating Hecht’s seat a day after he announced his retirement. Hecht had been convicted of felony harassment and paying a man for sex.

The council cited the need for flexibility as it tried to cut spending in its 2010 budget. Though Superior Court positions are authorized and partially subsidized by

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Bill Sehmel runs for Pierce County Council

PenMet Parks Commissioner Bill Sehmel has announced he’s running for Pierce County Council.

Sehmel, a Republican from Fox Island, is the fourth candidate seeking to represent District 7, which includes the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas, Fox Island, Fircrest and University Place. Previously, Republicans Stan Flemming and Larry Wingard and Democrat Todd Iverson have announced their candidacies.

The candidates are vying to replace Councilman Terry Lee, R-Gig Harbor, who cannot seek re-election this year because of term limits.

Sehmel is a plumber who also holds a real estate broker’s license. His family settled in the Gig Harbor area in 1884, and he led an effort to convert his family homestead into a park.

You can read his announcement below.

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Dan Roach to run for Pierce County Council

State Rep. Dan Roach has made it official: he’s running for Pierce County Council.

Roach, a Bonney Lake Republican, filed his candidate paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission last week. He’ll run to represent council District 1, which covers much of East Pierce County and stretches from Milton to Mount Rainier.

Roach has represented the 31st Legislative District since 2001. So far he has one opponent for the County Council seat: Longtime Tacoma firefighter and union leader Pat McElligott also filed to run last month.

The candidates will vie to replace Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps, who

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Wingard announces bid for Pierce County Council

Larry Wingard of Lakebay has announced he will seek election to the Pierce County Council District 7 seat currently held by Councilman Terry Lee, R-Gig Harbor.

Wingard, 72, and his wife Sharon own Shiloh Farm in Lakebay, where they sell fruits and vegetables and have a pumpkin patch, according to this article in the Peninsula Gateway.

Wingard, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for the County Council seat in 1994, the Gateway reported. He is the third candidate to announce he will seek the District 7 seat. Earlier Stan Flemming, a Republican, and Todd Iverson, a Democrat, announced they

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